"Entering a novel is like going on a climb in the moutains:
you have to learn the rhythm of respiration, acquire the pace;
otherwise you stop right away."
Sometimes, a mountain is just too high, the cliffs too steep, the edges to sharp. So it is with books, who are sometimes too dense, too bright, too… erudite, so that the reader, like an exhausted mountaineer, decides to give up and turn back.
After three weeks of toiling through the pages of The death of Virgil by Hermann Broch, I have given up. Yes I have and I am not ashamed to confess it. I am not strong enough yet to reach the top of that mountain of a book.
But I am not leaving these steep heights frustrated or angry or with a feeling of failure. I know that I got as far as I could without oxygen. I finished and understood the first chapter, I read a few pages of the second chapter but was driven back by fierce winds of incomprehension, I read a good part of chapter three, but did not finish it from lack of sleep… and I had a glimpse of what the fourth and last chapter could bring.
I had epiphanies of beauty in the page – long sentences. Pure prose poetry, a whole canvas of exquisiteness captured in a single phrase.
I scouted the structure of the book, I know where I will need to stock some canisters of oxygen and extra food next time…
I have discovered and understood a few of the themes, it is about Art and the relation of Art and the Artist and the Artist suffering for his Art.
Defeated for now, but I’ll be back…