Thursday, August 28, 2014

Table of Contents

AUTHORS INCLUDED (alphabetical listing)

Kathy Acker (USA)
"Grandmother to the Brat Pack" (on Acker's Literal Madness and Florida), by Douglas Messerli

James Agee (USA)
"The Silent Stars Go By" (on James Agee's A Death in the Family), by Douglas Messerli
"Invention Serves Remembrance" (on Agee's A Death in the Family: A Restoration of the Author's Text), by Douglas Messerli

César Aira (Argentina)
"The Last Innocent Moment" (on Aira's An Episode in the Live of a Landscape Painter), by Douglas Messerli
"Attending the Dead" (on Aira's Ghosts), by Douglas Messerli
"A Gap in the Wall" (on Aira's How I Became a Nun), by Douglas Messerli
"The Elements of Fiction" (on Aira's The Seamstress and the Wind), by Douglas Messerli

Eliseo Alberto (Cuba/USA)
"Responsible Parties" (on Alberto's Caracol Beach), by Douglas Messerli

Tereza Albues (Brazil/lived USA)
"A Bouquet of Tongues"

João Almino (Brazil)
from The Five Seasons of Love

Jorge Amado (Brazil)
"Julio Jurentio and Ilya Ehrenburg"

Eleanor Antin (USA)
from Conversations with Stalin
"The Third Act"
Review of Antin's Conversations with Stalin, by J. Hoberman

Reinaldo Arenas (Cuba)
Review of Reinaldo Arenas' The Color of Summer, or, The New Garden of Earthly Delights), by Lee Siegel

Ascher/Straus (USA)
from Hank Forest's Party

John Ashbery and James Schuyler (USA)
"Life in Duluth" (on John Ashbery and his Schuyler's A Nest of Ninnies) by Douglas Messerli

Margaret Atwood (Canada)
Review of Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin by Merle Rubin

Paul Auster (USA)
"Beyond" (on Auster's Oracle Night), by Douglas Messerli

Gerbrand Bakker (Netherlands)
"Being Alone" (on Bakker's The Twin), by Douglas Messerli

Russell Banks (USA)
Review of Russell Banks' The Angel on the Roof by Paul Binding
"Something to Be Touched" (on Banks' Lost Memory of Skin) by Douglas Messerli

Djuna Barnes (USA)
"Abandonment, Involvement, and Surrender" (on Djuna Barnes' Ryder), by Douglas Messerli

Dennis Barone (USA)
"Precise Imprecision" (on Barone's Precise Machine), by Douglas Messerli

Frederick Barthleme (USA)
Review of Frederick Barthelme's The Law of Averages: New and Selected Stories by Will Blythe

Charles Baxter (USA)
Review of Charles Baxter's The Feast of Love by Joseph Clark

Marcel Béalu (France)
"Walls"

Jurek Becker (Germany)
Review of Becker's Die Boxer, by Klaus Phillips

Samuel Beckett (Ireland/France)
"Moving Forward by Standing Still" (on Mercier and Camier), by Douglas Messerli
Beckett reading from his fiction Watt

Mario Benedetti (Uruguay)
"Holding In, Holding On" (on Benedetti's The Truce), by Douglas Messerli

Thomas Bernhard (Austria)
"Falling Trees" (on Woodcutters), by Douglas Messerli

Mohammed El-Bisatie (Egypt)
"The Voice in the Chest" (on El-Bisatie's Clamor of the Lake), by Douglas Messerli

Bjarni Bjarnason (Iceland)
Review of Bjarnason's Borgin bak við orðin, by Kirsten Wolf

Jens Bjørneboe (Norway)
"Between Fire and Ice" (on Bjørneboe's Powderhouse)

Adolfo Bioy Casares (Argentina)
"On Adolfo Bioy Casares" by Suzanne Jill Levine

Juan Bonilla (Spain)
"The Shrew Mice"

Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina)
"Borges Walker Wessells" (Wendy Walker and Henry Wessells in conversation on Borges)

Elizabeth Bowen (England)
"Caught in the Whirl" (on Bowen's Eva Trout) by Douglas Messerli)

Jane Bowles (USA)
"Prophets of the Ordinary"(on Bowles' Two Serious Ladies) by Douglas Messerli

Lee Breuer (USA)
"Porco Morto"
"Barnyard Philosophers" (on Breuer's Pataphysics Penyeach: Summa Dramatica and Porco Morto), by Douglas Messerli

Christine Brooke-Rose (England)
Review of Brooke-Rose's Next, by Brian McHale

Laynie Browe (USA)
from The Ivory Tower

Jeremy P. Busnell (USA)
"Bird Talk"

Olivier Cadiot (France)
"The Perfect Servant" (on Cadiot's Colonel Zoo), by Douglas Messerli

Italo Calvino (Italy)
Bibliography of Fiction
Review of Calvino's The Path to the Spider's Nests by David Ian Paddy

Veza Canetti (Germany)
Review of Veza Canneti's Yellow Street, by Harry Zohn

Finn Carling (Norway)
Review of Finn Carling's Gepardene by Tanya Thresher

Louis-Ferdinand Céline (France)
Review of Céline's Fable for Another Time, by Brian Evenson

Inger Christensen (Denmark)
"Pictures Resembling Creatures" (on Christensen's Azorno), by Douglas Messerli

Hugo Claus (Belgium/writes in Dutch)
"Rickabone's Fault" (on Claus' Desire and The Swordfish), by Douglas Messerli
"The Scream" (on Claus' Wonder), by Douglas Messerli

Ivy Compton-Burnett (England)
"The Man Who Would Not Die" (on Compton-Burnett's Manservant and Maidservant) by Douglas Messerli
Short Review of Compton-Burnett's The Present and the Past by Douglas Messerli

Gabrielle Contardi (Italy)
Review of Contardi's Navi di carta, by Francesco Guardiani

Robert Coover (USA)
Review of Robert Coover's Gerald's Party by Geoffrey Green

Julio Cortázar (Argentina)
Review of Julio Cortázar's Final Exam, by Gregory Howard

Domício Coutinho (Brazil/lives USA)
from Duke, the Dog Priest
"To the Dogs" (on Coutinho's Duke, the Dog Priest), by Douglas Messerli

Alexis Curvers (Belgium/writes in French)
Short Review of Alexis Curvers' Tempo di Roma by Douglas Messerli

Guy Davenport (USA)
"Writers from the Diaspora of Truth" (on Davenport's The Jules Verne Steam Balloon, by Douglas Messerli

Lydia Davis (USA)
"The Beginning of the Story" (on a reading by Lydia Davis) by Douglas Messerli

Denyse Delcourt (Canada/writes in French)
Gabrielle of the Spirits (on Delcourt's Gabrielle and the Long Sleep into Mourning), by Douglas Messerli

Miguel Delibes (Spain)
from The Holy Innocents

Don DeLillo (USA)
"Hiding Out" (on DeLillo's The Body Artist), by Douglas Messerli

Nigel Dennis (England)
"Transformations" (on Nigel Dennis' Cards of Identity), by Douglas Messerli
Review of Dennis' Cards of identity, by Jessica Winter

Mohammed Dib (Algeria/France)
"A Quiet Man in the Vast and Chattering Desert" (on several books by Dib), by Douglas Messerli

Isak Dinesen (Denmark)
"Lies in a World of Lies" (on Dinesen's Ehrengard), by Douglas Messerli

Michael Disend (USA)
"Rider of the Jade Horse"

Heimito von Doderer (Austria)
"The Walls Come Tumbling Down" (on von Doderer's Divertimenti and Variations), by Douglas Messerli

Jose Donoso (Chile)
"Bodies That Howl and Insult and Grope" (on Donoso's Hell Has No Limits), by Douglas Messerli

José Maria de Eça de Queirós (Portugal)
"The Dreamer and the Critic" (on Eça de Queirós' Correspondencia de Fradique Mendes) by Douglas Messerli

Jean Echenoz (France)
Review of Jean Echenoz' Big Blonds, by Susan Ireland

Ken Edwards (England)
"Us and Them"

Herbert Eisenreich (Austria)
Review of Eisenreich's Die blaue Disel der Romantik, by Thomas H. Falk

Sam Eisenstein (USA)
Review of Sam Eisenstein's Cosmic Cow and Nudibranchia by Joseph Dewey

Willem Elsschot (Belgium/writes in Dutch)
"Cartoon in the Mirror" (on Elsschot's Will-o'-the-Wisp), by Douglas Messerli

Per Olav Enquist (Sweden)
"The Black Flame: Truth in a World of Lies" (on The Royal Physician's Visit), by Douglas Messerli

Jenny Erpenbeck (b. East Germany/Germany)
"Hunger and Thirst" (on Erpenbeck's The Old Child and Other Stories), by Douglas Messerli
Review of Erpenbeck's Visitation, by Christian House

Brian Evenson (USA)
"The Torn Curtain" (on Evenson's The Open Curtain), by Douglas Messerli

William Faulkner (USA)
"Rereading Faulkner" (on Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury), by Douglas Messerli
"The Dreadful Hollow" (on Faulkner's As I Lay Dying), by Douglas Messerli

Raymond Federman (b. France/USA)
"Reflections on Ways to Improve Death"
Review of Federman's Take It or Leave It and The Twofold Vibration by Matthew Roberson
Returning to the Closet (on Federman's Smiles on Washington Square and The Twofold Vibration), by Douglas Messerli

Ronald Firbank (England)
"Firbank as Poet" (on Firbank's Valmouth), by Douglas Messerli

Daniela Fischerová (Czech Republic)
"The Emperor Is an Emperor Is an Emperor" (on Fischerová Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else), by Douglas Messerli

Thomas Frick (USA)
Review of The Iron Boys by Douglas Messerli

Jean Frémon (France)
from The Botanical Garden
Fremon's Island of the Dead

Serge Gainsbourg (France)
Review of Gainsbourg's Evguénie Sokolov, by Perry Friedman

Gao Xingjian (China)
Review of Gao's Soul Mountain by Jonathan Levi

Liliane Giraudon (France)
Review of Liliane Giraudon's Fur by Carolyn Kuebler

Witold Gombrowicz (Poland)
"The Serving Class" (on Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke, Bacacay, and Cosmos), by Douglas Messerli 

Jaimy Gordon (USA)
"Horse Sense" (on Gordon's Lord of Misrule) by Douglas Messerli

Juan Goytisolo (b. Spain/lives Morocco)
"Truth-telling in a World of Lies" (on Goytisolo's The Garden of Secrets), by Douglas Messerli

Julien Gracq (France)
Review of Julien Gracq's La forme d'une ville by John Taylor
"The Intrusion" (on Gracq's The Castle of Argol) by Douglas Messerli
"Circling Forward" (on Gracq's The Peninsula) by Douglas Messerli

"How Things Are" (on Gracq's King Cophetua), by Douglas Messerli

Günter Grass (Germany)
Review of Günter Grass' Two Far Afield by Thomas McGonigle

Henry Green (England)
"So and So" (on Green's Party Going), by Douglas Messerli

Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan)
Review of Mohsin Hamid's Moth Smoke by Umber Khairi

Knut Hamsun (Norway)
"Testing His Creations" (on Hamsun's The Women at the Pump), by Douglas Messerli

Jeff Harrison (USA)
"Two Tales"

Marianne Hauser (b. Germany[Alsace]/USA)
"A War Against Death" (on the works of Marianne Hauser), by Douglas Messerli
[works discussed include Dark Dominion, The Choir Invisible, Prince Ishmael, A Lesson in Music, The Talking Room, The Memoirs of the Late Mr. Ashley, Me & My Mom, Shootout with Father, and The Collected Short Fiction]

John Hawkes (USA)
"Life Force" (on Hawkes' The Beetle Leg), by Douglas Messerli

Franz Hellens (Belgium/writes in French)
"Leaving Elsinore" (on Hellens' Memoirs of Elsinore), by Douglas Messerli

Gustaw Herling (Poland)
"Against Common Sense" (on Herling's The Noonday Cemetery), by Douglas Messerli

Sigurd Hoel (Norway)
"The Idiot"

Yoel Hoffmann (b. Romania / Israel)
Review of Yoel Hoffmann's Bernhard, by Allen Hibbard
"The Thing Itself and Not" (on Hoffmann's The Heart Is Katmandu), by Douglas Messerli
Review of Hoffmann's The Shunra and the Schmetterling, by Leslie Cohen

Spencer Holst (USA)
Review of Holst's Brilliant Sentences by Karen Donovan

Alois Hotschnig (Austria)
"Not at Home" (on Alois Hotschnig's Die Kinder beruhigte das nicht), by Douglas Messerli

Roy Jacobsen (Norway)
"The New Window"

Arthur Japin (Netherlands)
Review of Japin's The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi by Michael Pye

James Joyce (Ireland)
Joyce reading from Finnegans Wake

Ismail Kadare (Albania)
Review of Kadare's Elegy for Kosovo by Maria Margaronis
Review of Kadaré's Clair de lune by Robert Elsie

Richard Kalich (USA)
Review of Kalich's Penthouse F by Christopher Leise

Daniel Kehlmann (Germany)
"The Last Innocent Moment" (on Kehlmann's Measuring the World) by Douglas Messerli

Danill Kharms (USSR)
"The King, the Outlaw, and the Blacksmith" 
"First of All and Second of All"

Karl O. Knausgaard (Norway)
"Extinguishing the Fire" (on Knausgaard's A Time for Everything), by Douglas Messerli

Tadeusz Konwicki (Poland)
Review of Konwicki's Bohin Manor, by Brooke K. Horvath

 Dezső Kosztolányi (Hungary)
"The Writer's Other Self" (on Kosztolányi's Kornél Esti) by Douglas Messerli

Laszlo Krasnahorkai (Hungary)
"The Frightened Rabbit Flattens Against the Grass" (on Krasnahorkai's The Melancholy of Resistance), by Douglas Messerli
"To Begin Is to Never End" (on Krasnahorkai's War & War), by Douglas Messerli

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (USSR)
"Forgetting to Notice" (on Krzhizhanovsky's Memories of the Future), by Douglas Messerli

Milan Kundera (Czech Republic)
Review of Milan Kundera's The Farewell Waltz by Paul Maliszewski

Tom La Farge (USA)
"On The noulipian Analects"
"Language Writhing Machines" (on La Farge's 13 Writhing Machines, vols. 1 and 2), by
Douglas Messerli

"Sir Echo" (on La Farge's 13 Writhing Machines, vol. 3), by Douglas Messerli

Carment Laforet (Spain)
"Nothing Left Behind" (on Laforet's Nada), by Douglas Messerli

Stansław Lem (Poland)
Review of Lem's The Investigation, by Tom J. Lewis

Alexander Lernet-Holenia (Austria)
Commentary on Lernet-Holenia's Beide Sizilien, by Robert von Dassanowsky

Stacey Levine (USA)
"The Water"
"Frictions of Desperate Serverity" (on Levine's The Girl with Brown Fur), by Douglas Messerli

Wyndham Lewis (England)
"Murdering to Create" (on Lewis' The Roaring Queen), by Douglas Messerli

Halldór Laxness (Iceland)
The Voice of a Country (on Laxness' The Fish Can Sing), by Douglas Messerli

José Lezama Lima (Cuba)
Review of José Lezama Lima's Paradiso by David Auerbach

Jonas Lie (Norway)
"How to Destroy Your Children" (On Lie's Niobe), by Douglas Messerli

Eugene Lim (USA)
from Strange Twins

Osman Lins (Brazil)
"Pastoral"
Osman Lin's book Nine, Novena

Øystein Lønn (Norway)
"The Calf in the Sea"

Maria Machado de Assis (Portugal)
"To the Dogs" (on Machado de Assis' Philosopher or Dog?), by Douglas Messerli
Colin MacInnes (England)
Review of  The London Novels by Douglas Messerli [link]

Amin Maalouf (Lebanon)
Review of Amin Maalouf's The Gardens of Light by Jamal En-nehas

Thomas Mann (Germany)
"The Will to Happiness"

Javier Marías (Spain)
"Coincidence and Contradiction" (on Javier Marias' When I Was Mortal) by Douglas
Messerli
"The Time That Has Yet to Exist" (on Javier Marias' Dark Back of Time) by Douglas
Messerli

F. T. Marinetti (Italy)
"Metaphorphosis" (on Marinetti's The Untameables), by Douglas Messerli

Carmen Martín Gaite (Spain)
Review of Martín Gaite's Behind the Curtains, by Brooke K. Horvath

Xavier de Maistre (France)
"Parenthetical Digression"

Harry Mathews (USA/lives France)
"Our Wonderful Lives" (on Mathews' My Life in CIA and The Journalist, by Douglas Messerli

David Matlin (USA)
"Moths Will Suck First"

Friederike Mayröcker (Austria)
Review of Friederike Mayröcker's Fast ein Frühling des Markus by M. Goth
Review of Mayröcker's Brütt oder Die seufzenden Gärten, by Susan Cocalis

Cormac McCarthy (USA)
Review of McCarthy's Cities of the Plain by Brian Evenson
"The Ultimate Road Trip" (on Cormac McCarthy's The Road), by Douglas Messerli

Douglas Messerli (USA)
Introductory Statement
from Twelve Tyrants Between Acts: Eighty Tiny Tales

Ivo Michiels (Belgium)
"The Cry" (on Michiels' Book Alpha and Orchis Militaris)
Ivo Michiels Book Alfa and Orchis Militaris, Vol. 1 of The Alpha Cycle $5.00

Christopher Middleton (England/lives USA)
"The Weathervane Oiler"
Christopher Middleton's book and ON NET editon of Deptictions of Blaff

Mo Yan (China)
Review of Mo Yan's The Republic of Wine by Jeffrey C. Kinkley

Félix Morisseau-Leroy (Haiti/writes in Creole)
"Eminans, a story for singing"

Kajii Motojirō (Japan)
"Underneath the Cherry Trees"

Harry Mulisch (Netherlands)
"Voices from the Dead" (on Mulisch's Siegfried), by Douglas Messerli

Murakami Haruki (Japan)
Review of Murakami Haruki's Norwegian Wood by Kim Hjelmgaard
"The Lone Wolf" by Ben Naperstek

Péter Nádas (Hungary)
Review of Nádas' A Book of Memories, by Irving Malin

Martin Nakell (USA)
"Five Works from Stories from the City Beneath the City"
"Everything But Life Itself" (on Nakell's Settlement), by Douglas Messerli

Richard Bruce Nugent (USA)
"Between Heaven and Hell" (on Nugent's Gentleman Jigger), by Douglas Messerli

Joyce Carol Oates (USA)
Review of Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde by Mary Gaitskill

Flannery O'Connor (USA)
"Strange Bird" (on Brad Gooch's Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor and
O'Connor's fictions), by Douglas Messerli


Oë Kenzaburo (Japan)
Community of Thought (on Oë Kenzaburo's A Personal Matter), by Douglas Messerli

Toby Olson (USA)
"Possibilities of Coincidence" (on Olson's Write Letter to Billy and Dorrit in Lesbos), by Douglas Messerli
"Lockup""The Poetics of In and Out" (on Olson's The Bitter Half), by Douglas Messerli
"Talking to the Dead" (on Olson's Tampico), by Douglas Messerli

Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
"The Smell of Death" (on Pamuk's My Name Is Red), by Douglas Messerli

Viktor Pelevin (USSR/Russia)
Review of Pelevin's Buddha's Little Finger by Keith Gessen

Benjamin Péret (France)
"The Four Elements"

Christina Peri Rossi (Uruguay)
"The Calvacade"

Fernando Pessoa (Portugal)
Review of Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet, by Phillip Landon

Dennis Phillips (USA)
from Hope

Antonio José Ponte (Cuba)
"Leaving the Door Open" on Antonio José Ponte's In the Cold of the Malecón and Other Stories), by Douglas Messerli

Jacques Poulin (Canada/writes in French)
"Transport of Love" (on Poulin's Translation Is a Love Affair), by Douglas Messerli

Anthony Powell (England)
"International Relationships" (on Powell's Venusberg) by Douglas Messerli

Richard Powers (USA)
Review of Richard Powers' Plowing the Dark by Charles B. Harris

Reynolds Price (USA)
"An Attack of the Heart" (on Price's The Tongues of Angels), by Douglas Messerli

José Manuel Prieto Gonzalez (Cuba)
Review of Prieto Gonzalez' Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire, by Nicholas Birns

Soledad Puértolas (Spain)
Review of Puértolas' Bordeaux, by Kay Pritchett

James Purdy (USA)
Review of James Purdy's Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue by Brian Evenson

Marie Redonnet (France)
"Ist and Irt"

Ishmael Reed (USA)
Brief Commentary on Ishmael Reed's The Free-Lance Pallbearers by Elizabeth MacKienan
Brief Commentary and Selections on and from Reed's Mumbo Jumbo by Dennis Cooper
Review of Reed's Cab Calloway Stands in for the Moon by Michael Boccia


Kathrin Röggla (Austria)
"Attic"

Peter Rosei (Austria)
"The Blur" (on Rosei's Metropolis Vienna), by Douglas Messerli

Joseph Roth (Austria)
"Secret Lives" (on Collected Shorter Fiction of Joseph Roth), by Douglas Messerli
"Pomp and Circumstance" (on The Radetzky March), by Douglas Messerli

Philip Roth (USA)
Review of Philip Roth's The Human Stain by Igor Webb

Helga Ruebsamen (Netherlands)
Review of Helga Ruebsamen's The Song and the Truth by Claire Messud

Aksel Sandemose (Norway)
"The Melancholiacs and the Missing Bucket" (on Sandemose's The Werewolf), by Douglas Messerli

José Saramago (Portugal)
Bibliography of Fictions
Review of Saramago's Blindness, by Philip Landon
"A Vision of Uncertainty" (on Saramago's The Cave), by Douglas Messerli
Review of Saramago's The History of the Siege of Lisbon, by Mary Sarko
Review of Saramago's All the Names by Richard Eder
"Trying to Pass" (on Saramago's The Elephant's Journey), by Douglas Messerli

Alberto Savinio (Italy)
"Attila"

Hans Scherfig (Denmark)
Review of Scherfig's Stolen Spring, by Brooke K. Horvath

Cathleen Schine (USA)
"Doggone" (on Schine's The New Yorkers), by Douglas Messerli

Ingo Schulze (b. DDR/Germany)
Review of Ingo Schulze's Simple Stories by Peter Rollberg

W. C. Sebald (Germany/lived England)
Review of W. G. Sebald's Vertigo by Joyce Hackett
"At Odds" (on Sebald's Vertigo), by Douglas Messerli

Ana Maria Shua (Argentina)
"Four Microfictions"

Josef Skvorecky (Czechloslavakia / now Czech Republic)
Review of Skvonecky's The End of Lieutenant Bouvksa, by Brooke Horvath

Gilbert Sorrentino (USA)
"Writers from the Diaspora of Truth" (on Sorrentino's Rose Theatre), by Douglas Messerli
"The Novel Against Itself" (on Sorrentino's Aberration of Starlight and Mulligan Stew), by Douglas Messerli
"Seeing Red" (on Sorrentino's Red the Fiend), by Douglas Messerli
"Runaway Moon, or The Duchess of Flight" (on Sorrentino's The Moon in Its Flight), by Douglas Messerli

Saša Stanišić (b. Bosnia-Herzegovina/Germany)
"When You Can't Cut Fog" (on Stanišić How the Soldier Repairs the Gramaphone) by Douglas Messerli

Gertrude Stein (USA)
"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Stone" (on Janet Malcolm's Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice), by Douglas Messerli
"Distribution and Equilibration in Stein's Three Lives" by Douglas Messerli
"Tender Buttons as Narrative Fiction" by Douglas Messerli
"Out of Order" (on Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas), by Douglas Messerli

Robert Steiner (USA)
Review of Steiner's Bathers, by Jack Charters

Panos Spiliotopoulos (Greece)
"The Castaway"

August Strindberg (Sweden)
"Selling Out" (on Strindberg's The Red Room), by Douglas Messerli

Antonio Tabucchi (Italy)
Review of Antonio Tabucchi's The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro by Thomas Hove

Inagaki Taruho (Japan)
from One Thousand One-Second Stories

Nivaria Tejera (b. Cuba/Canary Islands)
"Looking Down" (on Tejera's The Ravine), by Douglas Messerli

Jáchym Topol (Czech Republic)
Review of Jáchym Topol's City Sister Silver by Jaroslaw Anders

Esther Tusquets (Spain)
Review of Tusquets' Never to Return, by Brian Evenson

Jane Unrue (USA)
"A New Way of Seeing" (on Unrue's The House)

John Updike (USA)
"Before the Curtain Rises" (on Updike's Gertrude and Claudius), by Douglas Messerli

Urmuz (Romania)
"Ismail and Turnavitu"
"Algazy and Grummer"


Miklós Vámos (Hungary)
"Fallen Stars" (on Vámos' The Book of the Fathers), by Douglas Messerli

 Luis Fernando Verissimo (Brazil)
"Easting Oneself to Death" (on Verissimo's The Club of Angels) by Douglas Messerli

William T. Vollmann (USA)
Review of Vollmann's Butterfly Stories, by Steven Moore

Antoine Volodine (France)
Review of Volodine's Naming the Jungle, by Jack Byrne

Wendy Walker (USA)
from The City under the Bed
"Sexual Stealing" (on the Gothic Novel)
"Borges Walker Wessells" (Wendy Walker and Henry Wessells in coversation of Jorge Luis
Borges)
"The Forgotten Dream" (on Walker's The Secret Service), by Douglas Messerli

"Burning Blue" (on Walker's Blue Fire), by Douglas Messerli

Robert Walser (Switzerland)
Review of Robert Walser's The Robber by Stephen Clair
Mac Wellman (USA)
from Linda Perdido

Eudora Welty (USA)
"Conversations with Nature" (on Welty's The Optimist's Daughter), by Douglas Messerli
"A Solid Wall of Too Much Love " (on Welty's Delta Wedding), by Douglas Messerli
"The Encounter between History and Myth in Welty's The Golden Apples," by Douglas Messerli
"A Battle with Both Sides Using the Same Tactics" (on Welty's Losing Battles), by Douglas Messerli
"When Language Doesn't Mean" (on Welty's The Ponder Heart) by Douglas Messerli

Nathanael West (USA)
"Looking for Love" (on West's Miss Lonelyhearts), by Douglas Messerli

Dallas Wiebe (USA)
Brief Commentary on Dallas Wiebe's Going to the Mountains by Elizabeth MacKiernan

Oscar Wilde (USA)
"The Hidden Self" (on Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray), by Douglas Messerli

Virginia Woolf (England)
Woolf's recorded voice

Unica Zürn (Germany)
"A Real Doll" (on Unica Zürn's Dark Spring), by Douglas Messerli

Eleanor Antin | "The Third Act"


The following selection is from a new work by artist Eleanor Antin from the Memoirs of Eleanora Antinova as told to Eleanor Antin. Some of these pieces were published decades ago, others are currently being written. “The Third Act” represents one of the most recently written pieces in the book.


Chapter 7     
“The Third Act"
By Eleanor Antin

 

I danced with Diagheliv for 10 years. Where did they go, those years? Here. In my head. They are all in my head. And when I’m gone – phsaw… They were my family. Sergei Pavlovitch was our father. We were sisters, brothers. We slept four to a bed. It was cheaper. Two bargained for the room while the others sneaked up the back stairs. And took the best places. You should remember the friends who share your bed. But the nights blend into one night. Sometimes I can’t remember any night…I’m ashamed to confess this – I hope you won’t misunderstand – I can’t help it – to this day – I am partial to Russians. I feel friendly to them. Maybe not friendly, but familiar. A Russian is a Russian, even a bad one. I remember St. Petersberg better than London or Paris and I was never even there. By my time, most of the Russian girls hadn’t been there either. Paris rats. The last they saw of Mother Russia was racing through the ice fields of Finland on a sled. But there is no St. Petersberg anymore. What’s the new name? A ridiculous name, very likely. I always get it mixed up with Moscow but it isn’t. Moscow was always there. Stanislavsky was from Moscow. Chaliapin, too, I think. Leningrad. That’s the new name. A stupid name. Tanks, not white nights. Am I a snob? It’s hard to live with Russians and not be a snob. Even Lenin was part of the family. There’s no getting around it. A Russian is a Russian.


I knew the girl he lived with in Paris. She found him in a café. He was starving. She took him in and fed him like a stray cat. They say she was very beautiful, one of the famous artists’ models. All the girls in those days were from Martinique, Jamaica, Haiti. She was from Martinique. I was the little girl from America. They felt sorry for me. They looked at me like I was a savage. But that was later. I came later. By the time I knew her, she was over the hill. Absinthe. Syphilis. People didn’t know about health then. Later, when Lenin made a name for himself, they wrote to him for help, but he wouldn’t answer their letters. They say he had a hard heart. But why should he remember those days? What was there to remember? That he was poor and wretched? Now he was an important person. He lived in Kschessinska’s palace and made revolutions. I think Kschessinska was secretly proud that he chose her palace. They made the revolution from that palace. And it was only a little palace, new, not very important. So look at Eiffel. That was only a tower.


Indeed, she was a great ballerina, Mathilde Kschessinska, but narrow in her outlook. A terrible snob. We were all terrible snobs. Not a penny in our pockets but we sailed through the doors of the Ritz as if we owned the place. We did. Kschessinska’s Grand Dukes were the doormen. Grand Duke Andrei formally pinched our bottoms. It was an honor. Wasn’t he the Tsar’s brother? “Go little flowers,” he would say. “There are two counts from Alsace. They are old and ugly but their pockets burn with gold.” Our stomachs rumbled. We lived on piroschkas and café au lait. Dounia adjusted the veil of her red hat. That afternoon we lunched on oysters and frog’s legs and escargot and salmon roe and wines from the private cellars. Everything fell before Dounia’s delicious red hat. It had a spirit, that hat. And why not? It came from a corpse.


Though she wasn’t always a corpse – the tall skinny lady who crept close to the walls of the pension and never smiled. “Opium!” Dounia announced. “She is rich but will not last long.” Dounia had spies everywhere. She gave the maid some extra francs. When the poor lady died in her sleep, the maid knocked on our door. Later Dounia showed up with a red hat. A Chanel dress. Silk underthings. She gave me a pink chemise. She was furious. “That whore Katya. We fought over every piece. What does a slut like her need with a Paul Poiret dress.” We were shocked. A Paul Poiret dress! What couldn’t we conquer with a Paul Poiret dress?


 For who knew how the day would end. Fortune came and went. There was no reason. No cause and effect. Things happened. Fortune came or it didn’t. By not coming, it didn’t. So much of the time, it didn’t… I never did what I should do. I always did what I wanted to do. In the end that’s what I did. What I wanted to do. And the dances I made. I made the ones I wanted to make… Did it matter? I don’t know. In the end it’s all the same, isn’t it? Gone every one, except here in my head. Was that what it was all for? For some pictures in my head? A couple of phrases, an embarrassment or two? Yes, I still cringe when I remember some of the things I said and did…I’m so ashamed… In life things come out wrong…as in the theatre – events cross, mix up, mask, pretend – like life… But it all works out in the third act. There was a ballet I wanted to do, nobody would produce it. If there is nobody to produce it, there is nobody to dance it. I called this ballet “Act 3” All ensembles. No solos. The corps de ballet working in perfect harmony… I loved third acts… You are happy in the third act… I never even got to the third act……

 


When Diaghilev died there was nothing for me in Europe and I came home. To a desert. America was a desert. The roads were empty then. And the nights. The skies were black. The lights weren’t on all over the country yet. You saw the stars. How many moons did I see over Kansas? The country was silent. It was waiting for cars. The diners waited. The filling stations. We rode the buses down those empty roads to one nighters in church halls and movie houses. Sometimes we did 3, 4 shows a day. Between Carole Lombard and Ronald Coleman. Ballet was a foreign word. What was an American dance? The people were harvesting the wheat, rolling steel, making cars to ride the empty roads. America was singing. I heard her. I was a native, after all.


Europe was decadent. I came home to find my roots. The intelligentsia was in a ferment. They were searching for an American idiom. A new culture was at hand. We had high hopes…but it was not meant to be. The Great Depression. Those were terrible times.


Theatres were closing left and right. Bookings were very hard to come by. People were on breadlines. Jumping out of windows. I worked up some lighter numbers. I had to eat. I heard the Ballets Russes was starting up again in Paris under the Count de Basil. I had hopes. There was talk. But it was a new generation. The baby ballerinas were in demand. Still things were looking up. I did a number in the Greenwich Village Follies which was well received. The young Martha Graham was on the bill. A couple of shows. A safari number with an elephant. He was dropped in New Haven.


America was a Corsica. What did she know of the dance? So many unemployed dancers. Though I was fortunate. The American girls were all running off to have babies. But after 10, 12 years of training, a Russian girl does not run off to have babies without a good return on her investment. That was how I met Orlando. In Madame Albierti’s studio where I taught the beginning classes in exchange for attending the advanced classes. His last girl…pfft…off to have babies. “I have lost 3 in one year,” he wept. “I am a doomed man.” I had been living off of a snappy little diamond but the proceeds were running out. “I have no babies,” I said. “They all say that,” he shouted. “It is a plot to kill me before my time.” I looked at him closely. This man was no spring chicken despite his powdered face and darkened hair. “I do not know of what time you are speaking,” I said. ”But I have no use for midgets.” We went on that night. It may not have been Swan Lake but it was an honest job. The theatre had a real dressing room. And the manager did not run off with the money. 


We took to the road. Did a lot of touring over the next couple of years. They were very lonely those tours.  For years I lived in trains and hotel rooms. I was always cold. I used to wear a coat even in June. And after spending so many years with Russians, Americans said I talked funny. “I am from Azerbaijan, Bessarabia, Kazmestan, Shirvan, Karabagh,” I said. “Take your pick.” It was safe to say the name of a rug. They were less worried about my dark skin, which wasn’t exotic here like it was in Paris.


At first we danced acrobatic ballroom numbers. It was the vaudeville circuit, after all. But maybe we should try something classier. Perhaps dance for a better element. Orlando had ballet training. We worked up some interesting numbers. Audiences seemed to like them. We would try them out on the road, then hit L.A., New York. We dreamed of the big time again.


For a while, I had a friend who was like a daughter to me.  A little soprano with a sweet voice. She sang old mountain songs about her home in Tennessee. Later, I told her  about Paris and the Russian dancers. The dear little soprano hugged me. “How lucky you are, Eleanora.” Her nasty husband sneered. He was a pirate, that one. Kept pinching me under my coat. But maybe he was right. Maybe  it was a fairy tale. The snow was falling all around us. It fell in my heart, my soul. In the morning it stopped. A white blanket covered the windows. We heard the whistle. We kissed. Promised to look each other up. We knew we wouldn’t. But it warmed the heart to say it. The camaraderie of the road. The family of artists. And who could tell? The next week you could hit it big. We had some good club gigs. A show here and there. A couple of films. We started a school but nobody came. I still dreamed. A letter would come. A phone call. “Eleanora, return to us. We are starting a new ballet company.” But everywhere there are spies. Toumanova’s mother spies in Los Angeles. Slavenska’s sister in Houston. They will say terrible things about me. They are not to be trusted. I have danced with the Russian Ballet. I know what’s what. There will be no letter.


The hotels are such nasty places. Evil smelling closets. Often there is no window. It is the custom here to give the show people the first floor rooms. They are over the kitchen. We are always awakened before the sun rises. We are lower than the salesman on the second or third floor. He appears for breakfast smiling, rested, hungry. He rubs his hands with vigor. Let the day begin. He will sell many bibles today. We look at him. Our eyes are red. Our hair is wild. How ugly we look. “The hotel is empty,” I protest. “There are only three salesmen in the dining room. Give us rooms upstairs. We must sleep.” Is there a species lower than the hotel clerk? “This is a fancy establishment,” he shouts. “Every room is spoken for.” He jumps up and down. He is indignant. “We don’t want your kind here.” Rita, our strong lady,  comes to my aid. “Leave her alone, you two-bit jerk.” She makes a fist at him. The muscles ripple up her arms. The clerk is respectful. He drops back. “That is how they treat us,” she says. “Stinking cowards!”


At night, after the last show, I come back to the hotel. My trunk waits at the door.


“You are mistaken, ”I say. “I am not leaving till the end of the week.”


He is jumping up and down again. “Your room is rented.”


“You are very nervous for one so young,” I advise him. “You will get apoplexy. You will die of a stroke.”


 ”’You people always cause trouble,” he says.


 “I do not want to cause trouble,” I say. “I am tired. I want to sleep.”


He pounds the bell on the counter. Two men come out of the back office, One is chewing on a greasy turkey leg. They are old but there are two of them.

 

“Call the sheriff. One more colored down there cain’t make no difference.”


My companions are not robust. Even my friend Rita, the strong lady, turns away. After holding up 500 pounds of chairs and wriggling bodies over her head 4 times a day, her muscles are weary. Her soul droops. She does not want to be noticed. She wants to sleep.


Greasy fingers reach for me. “I am an American citizen. I have done nothing.”


“Yeah, well,” he sneers. “I thought you was a princess from India. This is a free country. We got no princesses here.”


I turn away. I’m bored with the whole business. I’m not even angry anymore. Just tired.


But the bastard won’t let up.


“You aint nothin’ but a dirty nigga, aint ya. Comin’ in here tellin’ lies. False pretenses, that’s what it is. False pretenses.”


“Yeah,” the senile one grunts, waving his turkey leg in the air. “False pretenses. That’s a crime, surely.”


‘Go to hell, “ I say, while Rita hoists my trunk onto her shoulders and walks me back to the theatre. “I’m sorry,” she says. Her eyes avoid mine. We kiss and she goes back to the hotel. The old super lets me into my miniscule dressing room. I make a place for myself on the floor and wrap myself in my old fur coat. I am comforted, But first I take some crumbs from my pocket and place them neatly on  the floor in the shape of a heart.


A little boy, an acrobat, used to perform here. They say he was tops. His father had big plans. He wouldn’t let him eat. ”Later you can eat,” he would say. “When you are a star in the big time.” He wasted away. But he was beautiful. He flew through the air like a glittering bird. He tried to hold on until the big time. He dreamed of chocolates and lollypops. But he grew weaker. The show people slipped food to him when his father wasn’t looking. It only made him sadder. “I must become a star first,” he would say. ”Then I will eat and eat and eat.” On Christmas Eve there was a party. The little acrobat sat up on the ropes. The smell of chocolate maddened him. His friend, Dainty June, waved a chocolate angel. “Finish up honey. Its Christmas.” With a cry of pain the little acrobat offered her his shaking hands. The old super is a hundred years old. He saw him fall. He just broke, he said.  They could hear him crack. And to this day you must leave food for his ghost or he will keep you up crying into the night.


But vaudeville is dying. Old timers work for $10. a day. My friend Rita, the Strong Lady, tears telephone books in half. It goes over big with the yokels. But this is a 4-a-day house. She must tear up four telephone books a day. A book costs 50 cents. That’s $4 a day. $14 a week. “I have to steal them”, she confesses. “I am so ashamed.” She even saves the nails she bends. She just bends them back before the next show. These are terrible times. I must get out of this business. I am looking into the nightclubs. They are patronized by gangsters. Gangsters can be very generous. I know a singer in Chicago who did very well with a gangster. A handsome fellow with satin lapels and Derby hats. They put on the dog together. When the bookies shot him, she wore white fox to the funeral. She looked stunning. Now she has a new gangster. Not so handsome perhaps, but generous. There is no shortage of them, it seems. I am not so snobbish as I was. One gets older. There are setbacks. A girl must look out for herself.


Time is irresistible. In Seattle, I remember a singer, Sylvia Froos. “The Little Princess of Song.” When she skipped out on stage shaking her Shirley Temple curls, the band played “My Heart belongs to Daddy.” Once she was a class act in the big time. And she still dresses like one – pink frocks, petticoats – long white gloves with rhinestones. Once I saw her without gloves. When she saw me she hid her hands behind her back. But I saw how wrinkled those hands were. Like an old woman’s. She cries in her dressing room. Drinks.


Life is short. Memory is longer. I think sometimes of “Before the Revolution”, my most famous, perhaps my least understood work. It was the only ballet that was mine all the way. It was produced during what turned out to be our final season, since Diaghilev died soon after in Venice. He always knew he would die on the water and he did though I don’t believe he ever dreamed it would be Venice. He loved it so much. Maybe that should have been a clue. They say all men kill the thing they love. But maybe its the other way around. 


We were at a real low point that spring and money was scarce. Besides the old man seemed to lose all interest in the company. Perhaps it was his way of saying goodbye. So I had little trouble convincing them to let me dance the role of the white queen.


Marie Antoinette was the first, and as it turned out, the only role I ever danced that fit my own skin. She was my balletic swan song. The White Queen dancing through the empty streets of peasant villages and dairy farms was the spirit of ballet…as the flightless white swans gliding swiftly over the little pond in the Bois de Bologne was its soul. She neither touched history nor was touched by it. The revolution erupts in her dream and kills everybody with a fountain pen. Like ballet she had the innocence of childhood…and its cunning. Her dance was as lovely and futile as swans on the royal pond. …I wonder if there are still swans in Paris….My friends are gone, of course. They’re all dead except for the ones who are still dying. Pascin too died a long time ago though he was still a young man. How generous he had been, how kind. But he painted in an unfashionable manner. Later he killed himself. Art is not generous to her children. A young man asked me recently how one knows that a work of art will last. Nothing lasts! All those years I worked and dreamed. Some mornings I woke up famous. I don’t think I ever woke up feeling understood…Sometimes I wake up in the dead of night and can’t remember where I am….

 
Copyright ©2014 by Eleanor Antin.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Douglas Messerli | on Colin MacInnes, The London Novels

For a review of the London Novels by Colin MacInnes by Douglas Messerli, click here:
http://www.raintaxi.com/the-london-novels/#content

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Daniil Kharms | "First of All and Second of All"



FIRST OF ALL AND SECOND OF ALL
By Daniil Kharms
translated by Ilya Bernstein



FIRST OF ALL, I was walking down the road and singing a song.

SECOND OF ALL, along came Ferdinand and said, “Wait up! I’m coming too.” And there were now two of us walking down the road and singing songs.

THIRD OF ALL, we saw a man standing in the middle of the road.

This man was just about the size of a bucket.

Ferdinand and I walked right up to him.

“Who are you supposed to be?” we said.

“Me?” said the small man. “I’m the smallest person in the world!”

“Come with us, small man!”

The small man thought it over and said, “Okay!”

And so, we set out together, Ferdinand, me, and the small man. But the small man could hardly keep up with me and Ferdinand. He tried running, but it didn’t make any difference.

So Ferdinand and I decided to carry him.

Ferdinand took the small man’s right hand, I took the small man’s left hand. And we lifted him off the ground.

The small man hung on, with both feet dangling in the air.

And there were now three of us walking down the road. Two of us continued singing songs. and one of us turned out to be something of a whistler.

FOURTH OF ALL, we saw a man lying on the ground with his eyes closed. This man was the longest man any of us had ever seen. Ferdinand and I and the small man approached him with caution.

All at once, the tall man jumped up on his feet, rubbed his eyes, and scratched his head.

And then he noticed us.

“Waaaait a minute!” he said suspiciously. “What’s going on here?”

We spoke loudly, so the tall man would hear us.

“Come with us, tall man!”

The tall man thought it over and said, “Okay!”

And before we could say another word, we saw him take a giant step forward.

“Hey!” the small man shouted after him. “You have to wait for us!”

Ferdinand and I grabbed the small man and ran after the tall man.

“This isn’t going to work,” we said to the tall man. “We can’t keep up with you. Why don’t you try taking baby steps.”

The tall man tried taking baby steps, but it didn’t make any difference.

“Listen, tall man,” we said at last, “can’t you just put the small man on your shoulder and carry the two of us under your arms?”

There was nothing else we could think of.

The tall man put the small man on his shoulder, tucked me and Ferdinand under his arms, like a couple of newspapers, and started walking down the road.

“Are you comfortable?” I said to Ferdinand. “I’m comfortable. How about you?”

“I’m comfortable too,” I said.

And Ferdinand and I started singing songs. The small man joined in with his whistling. And even the tall man couldn’t help humming along.

FIFTH OF ALL, we saw a donkey standing in the road.

All of us wanted to ride the donkey. But the donkey couldn’t very well carry all of us. So we agreed that each of us would give it a try.

The tall man talked us into letting him go first. He braced himself and swung one of his legs over the donkey. But the donkey didn’t even reach his knees!

Next, we tried putting the small man on top of the donkey. But as soon as the donkey started walking, the small man fell off.

“This is ridiculous,” said the small man, getting up off the ground. “The tall man should put me back on his shoulder, and you and Ferdinand should take the donkey.”

Ferdinand and I could not have agreed with him more.

The tall man put the small man on his shoulder, Ferdinand and l climbed on top of the donkey, and we were once more on our way.

Was the small man comfortable?

Yes.

Was the tall man comfortable?

Very.

Was Ferdinand comfortable?

Perfectly.

Was I comfortable?

Absolutely.

And the donkey? Was the donkey comfortable?

Yes, even the donkey was comfortable. Everyone was comfortable.

SIXTH OF ALL, we came to the edge of a great big lake.

Lying on the shore of the lake was...

“A boat!” shouted Ferdinand. “Well?” he added. “What are we waiting for?”

Ferdinand and I immediately found good seats for ourselves, but getting the tall man inside the boat was not so easy. He ended up sitting with his knees pulled up under his chin.

The small man made himself at home under one of the seats.

But there was no room at all left for the donkey.

“If you want my advice,” said the small man from under his seat, “the donkey should go in the boat with us, and the tall man should walk across the lake.”

The small man’s advice satisfied everyone.

The donkey went in the boat with us, and the tall man walked across the lake, pulling the boat behind him by a rope.

The donkey sat tight, afraid to move a muscle. We couldn’t tell what it was thinking, but it did not look happy.

As for the rest of us, we had no problem with being in a boat. And the tall man—he didn’t mind getting a little wet. We crossed the lake with the wind blowing in our faces, singing songs at the top of our lungs.

SEVENTH OF ALL, we reached the other side of the lake and got out of the boat.

Waiting for us on the shore, by the very edge of the water, was a car.

“What is this thing?” said the tall man.

“Beats me,” said the small man, scratching his head.

“This,” said I, “is an automobile.”

It was Ferdinand’s turn to say something.

“Well?” said Ferdinand. “What are we waiting for?”

Ferdinand and I took the front seat, and put the small man on top of the side-view mirror. That took care of Ferdinand, me, and the small man. But we had no idea how to get the tall man, the donkey, and the boat inside the car.

We tried putting the boat in first, and then putting the donkey inside the boat. That almost worked, except now the tall man had nowhere to sit

We tried putting the donkey and the tall man in first, but then there was no room for the boat.

We didn’t know what to do next.

Just then, the small man made a suggestion.

“Suppose the tall man gets inside the car, puts the donkey on his lap, and holds the boat in his hands?”

The small man’s suggestion satisfied everyone.

The tall man squeezed into the back seat, put the donkey on his lap, picked up the boat, and raised it high in the air.

“Is it too heavy?” asked the small man.

“Not at all,” the tall man assured him. “It’s lighter than it looks.”

I stepped on the gas, and we took off. Everyone was comfortable, except for the small man, who kept wibble-wobbling on top of the side-view mirror.

Otherwise, no one had any complaints. We zipped along, singing, humming, and whistling.

EIGHTH OF ALL, we arrived in a city.

The road turned into a street. Which was filled with people. All of whom were staring at us.

“Look at that big one in the back seat!” they were saying to one another. “He never goes anywhere without his boat and his donkey! Ha ha ha! And how about that little one on the side-view mirror—the one wibble-wobbling all over the place? Hee hee hee!”

We drove right up to the inn, put the boat on the ground, parked the car in the garage, tied the donkey to a tree, and called the innkeeper.

The innkeeper came out and said, “What can I do for you?”

“Would it be possible to spend a night here?” we asked politely.

“By all means,” said the innkeeper.

He showed us to a room with four beds.

Ferdinand and I got into bed right away, but the tall man and the small man couldn’t figure out a way to lie down.

The tall man couldn’t figure out a way to lie down because all the beds were too short for him.

The small man couldn’t figure out a way to lie down because all the pillows were too big for him. What are you supposed to do with a pillow that’s bigger than you are?

But since everyone was very tired, we all went to sleep somehow. The tall man wound up sleeping on the floor. And the small man announced that he didn’t need his pillow, and promptly fell asleep on top of it.

NINTH OF ALL, we woke up in the morning and decided to keep going.

Right then the small man said, “You know what? Enough already with that boat and that car! Why don’t we just walk.”

“No,” said the tall man, shaking his head. “I won’t make it very far if we walk. It’s not so easy, for someone like me.”

The small man laughed.

“For someone like you?” he said to the tall man. “Give me a break!”

“But it’s true!” protested the tall man. “If I could only find some kind of horse for myself.”

“What are you talking about—‘a horse’?” said Ferdinand. “You don’t need a horse. You need an elephant!”

“And you’re not going to find any elephants here,” I added. “This isn’t India.”

Just as these words came out of my mouth, there was a lot of noise, barking, and shouting outside. We looked out the window and saw an elephant.

That’s right, an elephant.

It was being led down the street by a large, noisy crowd. The barking was coming from a little dog who was running next to the elephant.

Meanwhile, the elephant kept on walking down the street, without paying any attention to anyone.

“Here comes your elephant now,” said the small man to the tall man.

“And you,” said the tall man, “can go on top of that little dog. It’s just the right size for you.”

“Exactly,” I said. “The tall man will go on top of the elephant, the small man will go on top of the little dog, and Ferdinand and I will take the donkey.”

TENTH OF ALL, the tall man, the small man, Ferdinand, and I ran out of the inn.

Ferdinand and I climbed on top of the donkey.

The tall man ran off after the elephant.

And the small man stood in front of the inn, and waited.

When the tall man caught up with the elephant, he jumped on top of it and turned it around. The elephant started walking toward the inn.

And do you know who was running next to the elephant?

Who else but the little dog!

Barking more than ever, the little dog was heading straight for the inn, where the small man was waiting for it.

As soon as it reached the inn, the small man took a deep breath and jumped on top of the little dog.

And we were on our way.

The tall man on top of the elephant.

Ferdinand and I on top of the donkey.

And the small man on top of the little dog.

It was a sight that no one will forget!

We rode out of the city, wondering what other adventures were waiting for us down the road.

_____
(c) copyright, English language translation 2014 by Ilya Bernstein.