By Gert Jonke
One of many most adorable riddles of Austrian literature is ultimately on hand in English translation: Gert Jonke's 1982 novel, Awakening to the nice Sleep struggle, is an excursion via an international in consistent worried movement, the place fact is speedily fraying—flags refuse to stay to their poles, lids sidle off in their pots, tram tracks shake their stops away like fleas, and books abandon libraries in droves. Our cicerone in this trip in the course of the attainable (and very unlikely) is an "acoustical decorator" through the identify of Burgmüller—a poetical gentleman, the sweetheart of 3 ladies, in a position to converse with birds, and no less than as philosophically minded as his writer: "Everything has unexpectedly turn into so obvious that one can't see via whatever anymore." This vastly comic—and both melancholic—tale may be Jonke's masterwork.
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Additional info for Awakening to the Great Sleep War (German and Austrian Literature Series)
My heart raced, I couldn’t get my breath. Desperation, panic, and frustration washed over me like waves over Osama bin Laden. I was all alone, at the entrance of hell. All of a sudden, an old man appeared. It was the official greeter of hell. Think of a Walmart greeter only older. His name was Oscar. At first I was in denial. I kept saying to myself: “I can’t be dead, I have so many things on my bucket list that I’ll never get around to doing on earth. ” The tip-off that maybe I was dead and in hell was the fact that the room temperature was approaching sixteen thousand degrees; plus, the loudspeakers were playing the entire Taylor Swift discography (which, I have come to realize, is really the same song).
This explains the rest of the anger. What was fascinating was that even though we had just met, we had a connection. And a real one, not like the kind on eHarmony where the only thing those twenty-nine dimensions of compatibility means is that the computer has matched up two identically superficial people. I got the feeling that Satan liked me, or at the minimum he was lonely . . or that there was something about me being an accountant that intrigued him. Satan cleared his throat, a sound that I will never forget.
For me it was different. ” It was my first wife. Although she was still alive on earth, at least from the waist up, Satan had manifested itself in her image to strike fear in my heart. ” Satan looked at me thoughtfully. ” This was the moment. We were, for a brief few seconds, equals. I had something Satan wanted to hear—the ultimate question. I looked at Satan and asked, “What happens if you flunk the orientation test? Do you go to another level of hell? ” Satan stared at me for what seemed like an eternity.