This is a novel that definitely benefits from a second reading. Walter Abish asks the question, How German Is It, by presenting a deftly crafted narrative of a modern Germany by brushing the story against the past of Sturm und Drang, the horrors of the world wars, and the recently concluded Nazi infestation.
Abish writes a very provocative question:
Is it possible for anyone in Germany, nowadays, to raise his right hand, for whatever the reason, and not be flooded by the memory of a dream to end all dreams?
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Did Enrique Vila-Matas attend Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany? Was he an invited artist, albeit an unusual selection being a writer? Is his novel The Illogic of Kassel a fictionalized accounting of Vila-Matas experiences at Documenta 13 or is it a complete fiction? Is Documenta a McGuffin?
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From the postumous collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s miscellaneous writing, Armageddon In Retrospect:
Over one hundred thousand non-combatants and a magnificent city destroyed by bombs dropped wide of the stated objectives: the railroads were knocked out for roughly two days. The Germans counted it the greatest loss of life suffered in any single raid. The death of Dresden was a bitter tragedy, needlessly and willfully executed. The killing of children—”Jerry” children or “Jap” children, or whatever enemies the future may hold for us—can never be justified.
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