Sunday, March 15, 2009
I have to report two aesthetic experiences of note from my Highland Jaunt - I am omitting the landscape and my new tweed waistcoat. The first was watching The Big Lebowski yet again, hence the headline on my previous post. The second was finishing The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth. Nige has been urging me to read Roth for years. He was right do so. This is a masterpiece, one scene after another dazzles, dismays and inspires. From the early moment when the newly ennobled son appears in the full glory of his imperial uniform before his peasant father - 'in the alien and almost unearthly radiance of imperial favour as in a golden cloud' - to the delivery of the news of the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo to an absurd, drunken, army festival - 'a lone sentence made up of huge and very distinct words scrawled in blue pencil' - it is a story of delusion and failure that becomes, through some mighty act of the imagination, curiously consoling. Read it at once.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 10:10 am