Powder and Dust

‘What are conflicts, what is the struggle for power compared to the meticulous, calm, even gentle victory of time against everyone?’

‘I can’t bear to live my life any longer, but the fact that today or tomorrow I will cross into endless death forces me to try to reflect. Because of this, because I must reflect, like someone who is thrown into a labyrinth is forced to seek an exit, even through walls smeared with dung, even through a rathole; this is the only reason I still write these lines.’

‘After I’m dead, my tomb, my cranny, will continue to float in the black fog, the solid fog, ferrying nowhere these pages which no one will read. But in them is finally . . . everything. I have written a few thousand pages of literature—powder and dust. Intrigues masterfully conducted, marionettes with electrifying grins, but how to say anything, even a little bit, in this immense convention of art? You would like to turn the reader’s heart inside out, but what does he do? At three he’s done with your book, at four he takes up another, no matter how great the book you placed in his hands. But these ten, fifteen pages, they are a different matter, a different game. My reader now is no one else but death. I even see his black eyes, humid, attentive like a young girl’s, reading as I fill up the page, line after line. These pages contain my scheme for immortality.’

‘For the following several weeks I sensed the terror of beginning to discern, albeit subconsciously, some vistas which disappeared toward a space other than the bourgeois world which, after all, we inhabited, even if softly hued by art’s posturing.’

‘Each one’s individual Death, the dark twin born at the time of birth.’

Mircea Cărtărescu, Nostalgia. (Trans. Julian Semilian)

2 thoughts on “Powder and Dust

    • I have pages of notes of fragments from this book. It’s a brilliant book, matched with a talented translator. Very much looking forward to reading more of his writing.

      Like

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