Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Letter Killers Club by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

All the signs are propitious, including the difficulty of pronouncing the author's name and the illustration on the cover—an empty classroom with paint peeling off the desks (Chernobyl).

The members of the letter killers club are a bunch of conceivers, matterphobic and phobic in general. Look to the political and social tensions of 1920s Russia if you like, or to a philosophical stance (K as an adolescent read Kant), it is disconcerting to read a tale of a club that meets in a room of empty black bookshelves and tells tales that test the limits of conception. Letters (on the page) should be killed. This book shouldn't exist but I am reading it. Like being stabbed but not yet dead.

After reading the book twice, it beeps in the dark, a map of obscure and plaintive indications; it floats about in the brain emulsion, along with fellow travellers like Daniil Kharms and Andrey Platonov; leaves the reader awash with paradox, like the morning after an all-night dream.

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