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
, 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
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).