Nick (phantastes) wrote in againstnature,
Nick
phantastes
againstnature

Since it's still August one more day...

If you happen to be unfamiliar, as I was until, last year or so, you should have a look at
August by Bruno Schulz, which is a quite pleasing and seasonally appropriate sort of overrought and dreamlike. (A number of his other stories are worth looking at as well- almost everything he wrote is available online, though I can't vouch for the translation and I find some considerably more to my taste than others.

By way of introduction...

"IN JULY, my father left to take the waters, and abandoned me, along with Mother and my older brother, to the mercy of the summer days, glowing white and stunning. Stupefied by the light, we leafed through the great book of those holidays, in which every page was ablaze with splendour, and had, deep down, a sickly sweet pulp of golden pears.
Adela returned on luminous mornings, like Pomona from the fire of the enkindled day, tipping from her basket the colourful beauty of the sun — glistening wild cherries, full of water under their transparent skins; mysterious black cherries with an aroma that surpassed what would be realised in their taste; and apricots, the core of the long afternoons lying in their golden pulp. And alongside that pure poetry of fruit she unloaded slices of meat and a keyboard of calf ribs, swollen with energy and goodness, and algae of vegetables that called to mind slaughtered octopus and jellyfish — the raw material of dinner, its flavours still unformed and sterile, dinner’s vegetative and telluric ingredients with their wild, fresh from the field aroma.
Through a dark apartment on the first floor of a tenement on the market square, every day of that whole great summer, there passed: the silence of shimmering veins of air; squares of radiance dreaming their fervid dreams on the floor; a barrel organ melody struck from the deepest golden vein of the day; and two or three measures of a refrain played over and over again on a grand piano somewhere, swooning in the sunshine on the white pavements, lost in the fire of the deep day. Her housework done, Adela threw a shadow over the rooms, drawing down the linen blinds. The colours then fell an octave deeper; the parlour filled up with darkness as if plunged into the luminosity of the deep sea — still dimly reflected in mirrors of green — whilst all the torrid heat of the day went on breathing on the blinds, swaying gently to the reveries of the midday hour.
On Saturday afternoons I would go with Mother for a stroll. From the duskiness of the hallway we stepped at once into the sunbath of the day. Passers-by, wading in gold, were squinting in the glare as if their eyes were glued with honey, and their upper lips, drawn back, bared their teeth and gums. And everyone wading through that golden day wore the same grimace in its scorching heat, as if the sun had bestowed upon all of its disciples the same mask, the golden mask of a solar cult. And everyone walking along the streets that day, meeting or passing each other by — young or old, every man, woman and child — hailed one another with that mask as they went, gold paint daubed thickly on their faces. They grinned to each other that bacchanalian grimace, a barbarian mask of pagan worship.
The market square was empty, and yellow in the heat, swept clean by hot breezes, like a biblical desert. Thorny acacias, springing up from the emptiness of the yellow square, frothed above it with their shining foliage, bouquets of graciously gesturing green filigrees — like trees on old tapestries. Theatrically twirling their crowns, those trees seemed to be stirring up a gale, so that they might show off by their pompous gesticulations the courtliness of the leafy fans of their silvered abdomens, like noblemen’s fox furs. The old houses, burnished by the winds of many days, were tinged with reflexes of the vast atmosphere, echoes and reminiscences of hues diffused deep within the coloured weather. It seemed as if whole generations of summer days (like patient stucco workers scrubbing the mouldy plaster from old façades) had worn away a fallacious varnish, eliciting more distinctly day by day the houses’ true aspects, a physiognomy of the fortunes and the life that formed them from within. The windows went to sleep now, blinded by the radiance of the empty square; the balconies confessed their emptiness to the sky; open hallways were fragrant with coolness and wine."
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