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Last Vanities (1994)

de Fleur Jaeggy

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886239,666 (3.78)25
"Reading time is approximately four hours. Remembering time, as for its author, the rest of one's life," said Joseph Brodsky of Fleur Jaeggy's novel, Sweet Days of Displine. Now Jaeggy has come up with seven stories, each at some deep level in dark complicity with the others, all as terse and spare as if etched with a steel tip. A brooding atmosphere of horror, a disturbing and subversive propensity for delirium haunts the violent gestures and chilly irony of these tales. Full of menace, the air they breathe is stirred only by the FÃoehn, the warm west wind of the Alps that inclines otherwise respectable citizens to vent the spleen and angst of life's last vanities.… (mais)
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» Veja também 25 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Tight, sparse and unflinching. ( )
  adaorhell | Aug 2, 2020 |
che strano libro, non posso dire di aver colto il significato di tutti i racconti. Ma un alone di tristezza, di malinconia, ma no, qualcosa di più intenso della semplice malinconia è presente in ogni riga di questo libro. ( )
  TheAuntie | Aug 23, 2012 |
Oooof. Each of these stories has a passage that sits heavy and uncompromising like a ball bearing in my brain.


NO DESTINY: "'Give her to me, give me the baby,' she had asked, over and over. And now her employers kept asking too. Johanna knew her employers would win. The child would grow up rich and respectable. She would be her maid."


A WIFE: "The master of the house was having fun, he'd never seen her so merry, he saw a heifer about to be sacrificed. He lifted his beer mug and made a toast: 'Auf den Tod.' the wife repeated, as though she were an echo: "auf den Tod.' 'To death', and downed her beer."


THE FREE HOUSE: "The girl opened her bag, pulled out a hammer, and struck Mrs. Heber between the eyes. It takes blood to wash away a wrong."


PORZIA: "Porzia's mad and melancholy eyes exulted in the flames that crinkled the curtains as though for a ball. In her hand she held something black that wouldn't burn."


THE TWINS: "'We don't embalm cats,' said the offended storekeeper. 'Not in Chur.'


LAST VANITIES: "This was the man she had relied on for fifty years. Amongst other things, she begged him, he mustn't let his slow, measured imagination plunge into the vast universe. And by 'vast universe', Verena meant imagining the death of his fellow men, imagining the death of his wife, plunging into the realm of premonition. 'I'm afraid,' Kurt repeated."


Ball bearings and--


THE PROMISE: "Once the formalities and simple burial were over, Ruth opened the iron gate of the family tomb and didn't leave until every letter of the name had been engraved: Vreneli Meyer Hess."


--one sphere of limpid water. ( )
8 vote MeditationesMartini | Aug 18, 2010 |
Spoilers below

Haunting collection of loosely connected tales. Connected mostly by their macabre and decadent themes. The psychological horrors her characters inhabit creep up on you...

Boo!....Like that.

Scare you? No? Don't worry, Fleur Jaeggy will. And if she doesn't scare you, she'll certainly disturb you. And she'll do it in only 95 pages, comprising seven stories. Every story lingers, long after you've finished, like regrets.

In the title story, a husband thinks his wife is ill, as their golden anniversary approaches. He's disappointed too when she turns out not to be ill at all...well, not physically ill, as he thought. His wife doesn't much care for him wishing any kind of ill upon her, and does something discreet, though drastic, in triumphant retaliation.

An overly generous man, in "The Free House" has opened his large house to the mentally ill. He and his wife sleep in separate beds. The man's wife spies on these mentally ill while her husband sleeps. She spies on a promiscuous nineteen year-old girl in particular. Exciting! Though she'll soon wish she hadn't spied. What business do the so-called "sane" have spying on the so-called "insane" anyway?

In "The Twins," orphaned, identical twins, grow up loving only one another for the rest of their lives. I'll leave it at that.

A woman promised her father she'd find a good man to marry, in "The Promise". After he dies, in honor of his memory, she gives it a good go, and sleeps with three men in her village. Dissatisfied with all three, she's nevertheless quelled her conscience. She kept her promise to her father. She did her best to find a good man to marry. Not finding any, now she can live happily, as she is, and as her father never knew her to be, with the woman she's loved all along.

Fleur Jaeggy is a stylist's stylist. Her prose is concise. Absent are parentheticals and semi-colons. Digressions don't exist. Not to say her language isn't euphonious. Because it is. She makes her prose sound more like poetry than prose.

Jaeggy's minimalism is more minimal than Hemingway's, Carver's, and Didion's. She's heard the right words and placed them on the page in the precise order she heard them. Stripped down. Bare naked writing. Wordiness be banished, her wonderful writing declares. The irony of her minimalist style is that she packs abundant, maximal substance into each short piece. I can't wait to be eminently disturbed by her diminuitive work again. ( )
9 vote absurdeist | Sep 3, 2009 |
I racconti non sono tutti dello stesso livello e a volte lo stile sembra un po' fine a se stesso. In generale ne consiglio la lettura, ma non bisogna aspettarsi capolavori. ( )
  pinolo | Aug 27, 2008 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Fleur Jaeggyautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Casassas i Figueras, AnnaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Company, FlaviaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Domburg, Anna MariaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Manganaro, Jean-PaulTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Parks, TimTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Riegen, TineTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Schaden, BarbaraTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"Reading time is approximately four hours. Remembering time, as for its author, the rest of one's life," said Joseph Brodsky of Fleur Jaeggy's novel, Sweet Days of Displine. Now Jaeggy has come up with seven stories, each at some deep level in dark complicity with the others, all as terse and spare as if etched with a steel tip. A brooding atmosphere of horror, a disturbing and subversive propensity for delirium haunts the violent gestures and chilly irony of these tales. Full of menace, the air they breathe is stirred only by the FÃoehn, the warm west wind of the Alps that inclines otherwise respectable citizens to vent the spleen and angst of life's last vanities.

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