The fourth of March, 2011: a long way, and beautiful

It’s Friday night! Anyone for Camus?

You see, when one is alone, and exhausted to boot, it’s easy to think you’re a prophet. And that’s what I am really, having fled into a wilderness of stone, mists and stagnant waters: an empty prophet for undistinguished times, an Elijah with no messiah, crammed with fever and alcohol, his back stuck against this mouldy door, his finger pointing up at a low sky, calling down curses on the heads of lawless men who cannot bear to be judged.

You’re going to Paris? It’s a long way, Paris, and beautiful; I haven’t forgotten it. I remember dusk there at about this time of year: darkness falls, dry and rustling, over the rooftops blue with smoke; the city gives off a dull rumbling sound and the river seems to have turned back in its course. I used to wander through the streets, then. They, too, are wandering, now, I know! They are wandering, pretending to be in a hurry to get back to their weary housewives and their stern homes… Oh, my friend: do you know what he is, that solitary creature, wandering in the great cities…?

La Chute (The Fall), Robin Buss trans. (Penguin, 2006).

Please consider this nourishing wedge of existentialism to be my gift to you, dear Clutterbuck reader, on this, the first World Book Night.

 

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