‘It’s true, up to a certain point I have been honest with myself, in the only manner possible for an artist; that is I wanted to say everything about myself, absolutely everything. But so much more bitter was the illusion, since literature is not the adequate means to say anything real about yourself. From the first lines with which you layer the page, the hand that holds the pen slips into a foreign, mocking hand, as though entering a glove, while your image in the page’s mirror scatters all over the place like quicksilver, so that out of its disordered blobs coagulates the Spider or the Worm or the Degenerate or the Unicorn or the God, when all you wanted to do was simply speak about yourself. Literature is teratology.’
Teratology, Merriam-Webster defines as ‘the study of malformations or serious deviations from the normal type in developing organisms’ from ‘ancient Greek word teratología ‘account of marvelous things, marvelous tales.’
It’s a promising opening to Mircea Cărtărescu‘s Nostalgia, translated into English by Julian Semilian. I’ll be slowly reading Cărtărescu’s work for a few weeks, following this with Blinding and the Why We Love Women collection. I came to know of his writing from Andrei’s review of Solenoid, from one of my favourite blogs of recent years. Deep Vellum are working on an English translation.