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Max Frisch's candid story of his affair with a young woman illuminates a lifetime of relationships.
Casting himself as both subject and observer, Frisch reflects on his marriages, children, friendships, and careers; a holiday weekend in Long Island is a trigger to recount and question events and aspects of his own life, along with creeping fears of mortality. He paints a bittersweet portrait that is sometimes painful and sometimes humorous, but always affecting. Emotionally raw and formally innovative, Frisch’s novel collapses the distinction between art and life, but leaves the reader with a richer understanding of both.
me, to give body to my words— many bodies, male and female. l y n n : He had simply removed the spectacles from her face, in order for once to see her eyes. She had been laughing at his English. He did it without touching her temples, as careful as an optician with his patient. She stood in her kitchenette, plates in both her hands, for 45 the moment helpless. The color of her eyes: like pale slate beneath the water. He decided that spectacles did not suit her, and she called him unfair,
Philharmonic Orchestra’s new concert hall. A cold February, the air thin. The first room to become habitable is the kitchen with its gas stove. The apartment must not be too full of furniture. I think so too, but one does need chairs. The telephone stands on the parquet floor. A little round table reminds one of a garden restaurant or a bistro. An Art Nouveau candlestick which Jurek brought over from the De u t s c h e d e m o k r a t is c h e r e p u b l ik , and another Art Nouveau
the Atlantic there is even a glimmer of sun. Lynn suggests a walk, and he willingly agrees; but before they go, she wants to wash her hands. The hotel also has a ping-pong table. Lynn knows this wood-frame hotel from an outing with her firm. A hotel in the sand dunes. It had been summertime then. When the weather is right for swimming, the place is overrun. Now it is still too cold, but they can always go walking— that is, if it doesn’t rain tomorrow— Does he know what they are talking about at
had been hearing other words, it was vitally important to recall that group of words. Following the transfusion I always felt weak, but not only that: my vision was also disturbed. However, I had to jot the sentence down before I went off to sleep. Toward evening, my senses restored, I read the sentence. It was not a sentence at all— the subject so in decipherable I could not even guess at it, and no sign of a verb. I felt frightened. She came to visit me, and I could not say it. Could I hear at
Switzerland, where it was night. Full moon. A drive across the St. Gotthard would be lovely now. Shortly afterward I met thick fog. Only with great difficulty could one make out the border stones along the high way. And later it began to rain. I considered whether it would not be more sensible to spend the night in the hostel, but I did not get out of the car. I was not feeling at all tired. On the con trary. Shortly after the hostel, where the road slopes downhill, my right headlight failed. I