Friday, December 16, 2005

The Unbearable Lightness Of Having Your Visa Application To Visit A Certain Eastern European Country Tentatively Accepted

"When we stood our turn in the exit queue of the border station, I sometimes used to bend down and raise the hem of the Iron Curtain, just to peek out at the [other] side where I was going; nobody was very strict in those days, and obviously I wasn't trying to "escape." (p. 536)

William T. Vollmann "Europe Central" Viking

2005 National Book Awards Winner for Fiction

Judges citation:

"Europe Central is a half-continent of fictions —- sketches, stories, novellas, a full-length novel--reimagining a World War II where Americans are a distant presence. Like an all-hearing intelligence agent, Vollmann occupies the minds of Germans and Russians, artists and generals, victims and torturers in impossible ethical quandaries. Scrupulously researched, rigorously designed, scarifingly voiced, this omnibus is heroic art, the writer’s courageous immersion in totalitarian ugliness to retrieve forgotten moral heroes. Full of terror and pity, Vollmann’s narratives go back beyond tragedy to the historical mastery of epic."


Memorial "Bresckaia Krepasc", built after WWII in the Fortress of Brest, Belarus.

Photo credit: Virtual Guide to Belarus - a collaborative project of Belarusian scientists and professionals abroad.


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