March 28th, 2009

Three Notes, One Of Them Cryptic

It was noisy on the street last night. Lots of shouty teenagers. Every so often I'd peek through the blinds to make sure the mischief wasn't getting out of hand. And then- at ten o'clock- the patriarch of the house where the teenagers live roared that it was time for them to get inside- and they did- and everything was quiet.

I just finished Under Western Eyes. It's the first Cold War novel- except (of course) that it was written forty years too soon. A drama of terror and counter-terror that began on the wintry streets of St. Petersburg is played to a close in the bourgeois playground of Geneva. A man who asks for nothing better than to be left alone- a hollow man, whose emptiness is read by others as profundity-  is caught up in the war between autocracy and revolution and - horribly compromised- has to transcend himself to achieve redemption.  There's a wonderful supporting cast of grotesques. It's like something by Le Carre- only better.

I sometimes labour under the illusion that I can save people. And then I discover that I can't.