By Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Trans. Richard and Clara Winston
here's the assessment from new york instances overview of Books by means of Kurt Vonnegut:
une thirteen, 1965
Everything is going Like Clockwork
By KURT VONNEGUT, Jr.
ONCE A GREEK
By Friedrich Duerrenmatt.
Translated via Richard and Clara Winston from the German, "Grieche Sucht Griechin."
the article to appreciate approximately Friedrich Duerrenmatt is that his stories are lovely and queer Swiss clocks. There are not any mechanical mysteries or flaws. The intricately twinkling, twitching works will be prominent via situations of glass, they usually make little dolls act out jerky little scenes of human love and greed and stupidity and homicide and politics and wish. The dolls are frankly dolls, doing what the equipment says they need to. there's one human soul at which to marvel--the soul of the inventor.
"Once a Greek..." is Durrenmatt's most modern ebook in the USA, a ebook 10 years previous in Europe. In it, the dolls of Duerrenmatt discover a toy Duerrenmatt urban, which has a Presidential Palace, an American Embassy, a white, satanic mill by means of Corbusier, the place every little thing from an obstetrical forceps to an atomic cannon is made; a countrywide paintings Gallery, a crematorium, a slum.
The inventor's top doll, Archilochos, the Greek within the name, seeks love during this baroque, HO-gauge, middle-European Hell. alongside the way in which he learns a lesson that Nelson Eddy attempted to educate throughout the nice melancholy, that love and love on my own is worthy searching for, that love and love on my own will pay off. Does he locate it? He does, as the clockwork says he has to.
Which isn't to mock Duerrenmatt. As i've got already indicated, he's a desirable, endearing maker of clocks. He chooses to jot down this fashion, invented this manner of writing. The puzzle is: He looks attacking anything brilliantly, yet what's it? a primary aim should be the white manufacturing unit, the place Archilochos works as one in every of hundreds of thousands of shabby bookkeepers. yet there by no means was once this kind of manufacturing facility at any place, and there by no means could be. at the first ground is the Tank department, at the moment, the Atomic Cannon department, at the 3rd, the computer Gun Division...on the 7th, the Obstetrical Forceps department. Duerrenmatt is really good at describing palaces, all the way down to the final putti, yet he doesn't provide a rattling approximately what glossy factories are fairly like, or what sleek commercial jobs are quite like. Shoals of bookkeepers were disbursed with for rather a few time.
It matches the writer to populate this greatly winning manufacturing unit with pompous fools who have no idea what's going. this type of situation isn't really attainable. He exhibits up politicians and educators and churchmen who're meant to not smoke or drink or devote adultery, although they do all 3. this type of situation isn't inevitable. Duerrenmatt easily desires issues that approach, for purposes of his own.
For purposes of his personal, he has the untalented, no longer remarkably brilliant, unambitious clerk upward push in a short time. The clockwork reason behind the increase is one who was once utilized in "The Visit," too: a whore with robust connections. In describing the opulence of Archilochos's new existence, the palace, the furnishings, the garments, Duerrenmatt misfires hilariously while he tells us approximately his glamorous automobile. God support us, it's a pink Studebaker. the wonderful translator should not have permit that stand. Duerrenmatt wasn't creating a comic story. He has strong jokes, yet now not that kind.
His jokes are Jungian jokes, it kind of feels to me--private, Kraut, mythological. And, whereas he turns out to protest opposed to the absurdities of contemporary instances, he doesn't care adequate approximately them to profit a lot approximately them. What we've this is a sublime exploration of a Jungian dream.
"Archilochos started wandering in the course of the little rococo palace which now belonged to him," writes Duerrenmatt. "At first he had wandered approximately planlessly, yet after your time he begun following a coloured path, paper cutouts of blue, purple, and golden stars which lay at the delicate rugs and appeared evidently intended to lead him. He got here ultimately to an unforeseen slender, winding staircase which he reached via a mystery door within the wallpaper." and so forth. "Satire," says the ebook jacket. "Dream," say I.
The shades and the structures and the costumes are as attractive as whatever you are going to ever see.
Mr. Vonnegut is writer of "Cat's Cradle," "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" and different works of fiction.<