[ excerpt ]
Read more about Blecher and his work here
||the illuminated burrow
A Sanatorium Journal
by Max Blecher
translated from the Romanian by Gabi Reigh
"Everything I write about was once upon a time real life. And yet, when I think about every moment that has passed, when I try to visualize it again,
to reconstruct it, I mean when I try to rediscover its own particular light and its own particular sadness or joy, the first thing that strikes
me is the ephemerality of life as it drains away and then the utter insignificance of those moments from which our existence is woven. It is said
that memories fade, like long forgotten objects packed away in a drawer. So what are we to do with these minutes and hours as we live them?"
The opening of Max Blecher’s posthumously published novel The Illuminated Burrow evokes its central concern with the power and limitations of memory.
Set, as with Scarred Hearts, in Berck-sur-Mer Sanatorium in France where Blecher was being treated for spinal tuberculosis during his final years,
it is a dying man’s attempt to capture the moments of life as they pass "like ash ... through a sieve" and rescue the poignant beauty of days spent
straddling the boundary between waking and dreaming, wandering through deserted gardens, or experiencing transient yet affecting connections with
fellow patients. As his physical powers decline and he is permanently confined to a stretcher bed, the narrator’s life migrates to his inner
consciousness, that "illuminated burrow" where reality is indistinguishable from fantasy, where the surreal and the mundane seamlessly fuse to
enact the fear and fascination he feels toward the vibrant world that is gradually slipping away from him.
ca. 175 pp.
13.5 x 19 cm
RRP: $21 • £15