"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, Wurz.
Wuurz 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. Wurz 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 Wurz 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 Wurz'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 Gunter Grass, Bertolt Brecht, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Hermann Hess, Peter Handke, and more. In 1982, PEN American Center created an award for translation in his name.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser 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