Tuesday, December 11, 2007

George Saunders in the NYT on Daniil Kharms

"Kharms’s stories are truly odd, as in: at first you think they’re defective. They seem to cower at the suggestion of rising action, to blush at the heightened causality that makes a story a story. They sometimes end, you feel, before they’ve even begun. Here, in Yankelevich’s translation, is the entire text of 'The Meeting':

'Now, one day a man went to work and on the way he met another man, who, having bought a loaf of Polish bread, was heading back home where he came from.

'And that’s it, more or less.'

Bring that into workshop! You’ll get slaughtered. Crickets will sound in the seminar room. Someone will say, 'I guess I’d like to know more about the Polish bread.' "

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