Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tromping around the yard attached to the house we're going to move into, one of these days, I spotted a shiny candy wrapper in the tall grass below the swamp cooler, which sticks out from the back of the house like a retro jetpack, and straightaway found myself thinking of Cosmos by Witold Gombrowicz, the great Polish novelist, short story writer and general man of letters. The book is about a student who goes to the countryside to spend the summer. There he falls in with an acquaintance and they decide to find a place to stay together. On their way to a house with rooms to let, they come across a dead sparrow hanging by some string in a tree. This dead sparrow sets their little minds to yammering and dreaming up conspiracies so that by the time they are installed in their rooms and are getting to know the various denizens of the house they are seeing (and creating) potentially linked omens everywhere. Needless to say they don't get to the bottom of much, but they (and esp. the narrator) do do a lot of thinking and running in circles.

So that's what I thought about when I saw the greenish, metallic candy wrapper. I thought, hmmm, there's some kind of mystery here.

Or actually what I thought was something more like, what the fuck?

(Cosmos is available from Yale University Press in a fresh translation by Danuta Borchardt.)


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