Wednesday, February 17, 2010


There is a Romantic misconception that terror has always to be impressive, fierce and appropriately Luciferian – in other words, that terror is nothing if it is not spectacular. However, that's rarely the case in real life. As Czeslaw Milosz excellently put it in The Native Realm, “Terror is not … monumental; it is abject, it has a furtive glance, it destroys the fabric of human society and changes the relationships of millions of individuals into channels for blackmail.” Terror can be mediocre, even idiotic, yet omnipresent. Terror can be terribly banal, utterly un-Romantic, but never-ending. Terror is when the secret police persuade your best friend to inform on you; when objects start moving around your room in your absence; when the secret police interrogator tells you, right before you leave his office after a day-long interrogation, that “accidents do happen,” or when your friends start committing (poorly) staged suicides.


The main character/narrator had been headed for an appointment with her Securitate interrogator, but by the end of the story we are not at all sure that she is going to see him – see him while still in her right mind, that is. For the novel may well be read as a journey into madness. The more so as its very last sentence is an oblique reference to insanity: “The trick is not to go mad.”

Costica Bradatan on Herta Müller

courtesy woods lot

the rest here

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