Ergo

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Open Letter, 2010 - Fiction - 150 pages
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"Lind is a writer--one of the best--who has chosen to speak in a different tongue. It is amazing that he is witty; it is not at all surprising that he is profound."--New York Times

Wacholder lives and works at Custom House No. 8 with his adopted son Aslan and a lodger named Leo. Aslan spends his days copying out the novels of Kleist, Schiller, Goethe, and Mann; Leo, never leaving his bed, mentally composes his philosophical masterwork, Placental Theory of Existence; and Wacholder's only apparent responsibility is keeping watch over a towering mountain of paper. Wacholder's consuming passion, however, is his only true friend and nemesis, W rz.

W rz hasn't left his home in over seventeen years. He lives there, in a cocoon of cleanliness and order, with his wife Rita and Rita's two grown sons, Arnold and Arnulf. W rz has dedicated his life to perfecting his home and eliminating every last atom of dirt. His happiness is disturbed only by the letters, 74 in all, Wacholder has sent him over the years. These letters--dictated by Wacholder, written by Aslan, and full of every kind of insanity and invective--are intended to smoke W rz out of his hole, both for his own good and to stop him from plotting against Wacholder.

When the 74th letter seemingly has no effect, Wacholder turns to other increasingly outlandish schemes to defeat his rival, even staging a rally to declare W rz's non-existence. A feverishly comic carnival, Ergo is Jakov Lind's most experimental work and the final novel he wrote in German.

Jakov Lind was born in Vienna and survived the Second World War by fleeing into Germany, where he disguised himself as a Dutch deckhand. Regarded in his lifetime as a successor to Beckett and Kafka, Lind was posthumously awarded the Theodor Kramer Prize in 2007.

Ralph Manheim was one of the great translators of the twentieth century. He translated G nter Grass, Bertolt Brecht, Louis-Ferdinand C line, Hermann Hess, Peter Handke, and more. In 1982, PEN American Center created an award for translation in his name.

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User Review  - hemlokgang - LibraryThing

In Jakov Lind's "Ergo", therefore never arrives. This novel is reminiscent of "Waiting for Godot". If you choose to read it, be ready for a stream of consciousness roller coaster ride. Enough said. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
15
Section 2
35
Section 3
54
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Jakov Lind (1926--2007) was born Heinz Jakov Landwirth in Vienna in 1927 to an assimilated Jewish family. Arriving in the Netherlands as a part of the Kindertransport in 1939, Lind survived the Second World War by fleeing into Germany, where he disguised himself as a Dutch deckhand on a barge on the Rhine. Following the war, he spent several years in Israel and Vienna before finally settling in London in 1954. It was in London that he wrote, first in German and later in English, the novels, short stories, and autobiographies that made his reputation, including his masterpieces: Landscape in Concrete, Ergo (forthcoming from Open Letter), and Soul of Wood. Regarded in his lifetime as a successor to Beckett and Kafka, Lind was posthumously awarded the Theodor Kramer Prize in 2007.

Ralph Manheim was one of the great translators of the twentieth century. He translated G nter Grass, Bertolt Brecht, Louis-Ferdinand C line, Hermann Hess, Peter Handke, and more. In 1982, PEN American Center created an award for translation in his name.

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