just trying to keep score.

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marcus continued

“LeBov enjoyed the rhetorical vague. He relished not naming something, in not even talking about something. I felt his pleasure as he refused to say whatever he was obviously thinking. He didn’t even really say what he was saying. Instead he found some way to make it seem that someone else was saying it, someone he looked down on. He was only the vessel, raped in the mouth and made to channel the words of an invader. This kind of concealment was supposed to create tension, build mystery. We spoke in code, but no one was listening in, and we no longer knew the original language to which our niceties would be translated back. We were trapped in the code now for good. A language twice removed, stepped on, boiled into a paste, and rubbed into an animal’s corpse.”

LeBov isn’t quite the villain, but he’s absolutely the snake in the garden, or perhaps just Wallace Stevens’s Lunatic of One Idea. The plague of language isn’t his fault, but his battle against it incurs awful costs, warps and cracks anything it touches, not least of all Marcus’s diction and syntax. The result is something complex and difficult, defeated and hopeless, hard to read but impressive in its comprehensiveness and sorrow.

January 20, 2012, 11:00am   Comments