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Holiday, pt. 2




[ more pictures here ]


To sum up, and contrary to the evidence of the picture above, it rained. A lot.

In slightly more detail, I arrived in Maishofen. It started to rain. And went on raining. Thursday it finally cleared up and I managed a hiking tour, which was mostly pretty, but where I found out that despite the morning runs my form is still? again? sadly lacking. (Yes, it was kind of steep, and also a few days before my period started, but still...) Also, I need to do something against my cow-phobia. Saturday It started to rain again, and that pretty much was it. So it didn't really matter all that much that - Tuesday, I think - I ran against the door-frame and bruised and maybe, but probably not, slightly cracked my little toe. Trip to the hospital, X-ray, which at least killed an hour or so. Couple of days of hopping around, which was less than amusing. Saturday before I left if finally cleared up again, but by then I still couldn't wear my hiking boots without the toe hurting. Sat on the balcony in the evening with a glass of wine, watching first dusk fall, and then a thunderstorm approaching from the west, lightning flashing over the mountains... which was pretty much the only time I felt truly relaxed and almost happy.

And yes, I do realise that it's horribly self-indulgent and petty to whine about such minor irritations when a couple of hundred kilometers further west streets and houses were swept away by flooding and land-slides.


So what I did was try to at least get out on the bike for a couple of hours each day when/if the rain stopped, and read. A lot. Tolstoi's War and Peace, which for the greater part I liked very much. My only (very minor) issue is with the second part, where occasionally he gets a little too long-windedly didactic in his theoretical historic passages for my taste. The problem, I guess, is whereas his historic approach was probably ground-breaking and new when he wrote the novel, it is rather less so a century and a half's worth of historical and sociological theories later, and you occasionally get a little exasperated, when what you already understood and found interesting the first, second and third time, is explained over and over again. And there's the occasional over-dose of patriotism and partiality for Kutusow... Also while you get to like the characters so much you want them to be happy, the epilogue with everyone happily married and I don't know many children is a little too sweet for my taste, but, again, minor irritations. Great writing, great characters throughout, loved it. Cried through Andrej's death; he's perhaps the character I liked best, always searching for something...something more, something beyond, and never quite reaching it, never really finding peace, only in the end, 'waking up from life'.

Finished Dostojewski's Crime and Punishment this time, and was very impressed with it. The first time I got stuck somewhere around Marmeladow's death, because between the endless, all-pervading misery, the apparently pointless murder and Raskolnikow's constant mood-swings and near-hysteria, I found it rather tiring to read, but once Raskolnikow's motif is explained it and his true tragedy becomes apparent, that it is not remorse for the murder that tortures him, but the fact that he fell short of his own standards because he could not coldly commit and bear the murder that was supposed to prove him one of the few, great people set apart from the masses who for the good of humankind in his opinion are above rules, conventions and laws. The problem of course is that partly he is right, because history has double standards and allows people to spill a lot of blood and will still call them great, but the sheer arrogance of deciding that he is one of these people and committing a murder almost exclusively with the purpose of proving this is breathtaking, as is the hurt pride in the self-disgust at having failed. (It is rather symptomatic that he's convinced that his sister is willing to martyr herself for him, but when she does appear in person it turns out she's not quite the self-sacrificing suffering saint, but a woman with a brain, personality and standards, who's in fact perfectly capable of weighing her options and making decisions for her life.)

Somehow, this novel and Raskolnikow's character seem to be almost prophetic for a good part of the 20th century...

Aber wenn du Blutvergießen aus Gewissen erlaubst, so ist das entsetzlicher als eine offizielle, sanktionierte Erlaubnis zum Morden...

I can't put it into wordes, but there's something about both novels, the sheer scope and depth of emotions, the subjects adressed, that is... TM's 'heilige russische Literatur' makes a lot of sense.


Also read Gogol's Dead Souls, which was a good, amusing read, but I do hate unfinished WIPs, so it's probably a good thing I didn't know that when I bought it...


Barbara Nadel, Belsazar's Tochter and Ake Edwardson, Der Himmel auf Erden, because they were on sale and you can't read Russian classics all the time.


Re-read a good part of TM's Doktor Faustus, still/again very much intrigued & noticed that TM is the first author in a long time whose books I actually re-read.


Gave up on Josef Winkler (too depressing) and Amos Oz (just couldn't get into it).

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
un_crayon_rouge
Sep. 1st, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC)
Also, I need to do something against my cow-phobia

You too?

And yay for russian literature love. Yay for War and Peace! It's still one of my all time favorites, I've read it three times, yes, even the parts about Kutusow, because I'm anal that way. My favorite character is Pierre, but of course that's greatly influenced by Henry Fonda playing the part. I always remember him standing on that windowsill, drinking vodka. *shivers*

I felt exactly the same way about Rasokolnikows mood swings. I remember I ended up loving the book, but can't remember anything else about it. My mind is in a sad, sad state.
solitary_summer
Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:28 am (UTC)
It's kind of ridiculous, seeing as my parents dragged me up mountains, over Almen & through cow-herds since I was five or so, but they're bulky animals with pointy horns and judging from what one reads in the news, accidents seem to happen increasingly often since they're just keeping the cows up there alone with their calves in happy family mode complete with protective mother instincts... I try to make a wide detour if possible, especially if there are no other people around, but detours uphill tend to be rather anstrengend...


There is a movie? I liked Pierre a lot too, actually for much the same reason as Andrej, that he's always searching for a meaning, but what with the mood I was in, I ended up liking Andrej better, perhaps for not ending up happily married with x children. ::sigh:: My mind is a sad place...
un_crayon_rouge
Sep. 2nd, 2005 10:30 am (UTC)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6300215601/103-3926478-0264646?v=glance#product-details

Natasha is Audrey Hepburn and Andrej is Mel Ferrer. If you have not seen this, I will send it to you ASAP.
solitary_summer
Sep. 3rd, 2005 03:56 pm (UTC)
I haven't, but, um, that doesn't mean you have to send it...
un_crayon_rouge
Sep. 3rd, 2005 06:53 pm (UTC)
No, but you don't understand. You must see this, because I loved the film, and the book, and I love you, so there you are. And it won't do to buy the film yourself, so don't even try. In fact, I am double ordering it, one for me, one for you. Heh.
solitary_summer
Sep. 4th, 2005 07:55 am (UTC)
*not trying*

*shutting up now*

THANK YOU!
queerbychoice
Sep. 1st, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
I loved War and Peace too. And I liked Crime and Punishment, but I've been frustrated by not having liked any other Dostoyevsky books I've tried.
solitary_summer
Sep. 2nd, 2005 08:38 am (UTC)
Uh-oh. I haven't read anything else yet, but I was looking forward to... I'll just have to try & find out then, I guess.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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