Sunday, February 10, 2013

the blood-sucking sun

As if part of some cosmic joke, we have had two straight days of sunshine, beginning exactly at the moment a US news outlet said solar energy won’t work there because it’s not sunny like Germany. From the dim northern coast to the overcast border town of Regen (“Rain”), that expert reporting caused the whole of Germany to erupt in a wet, grey guffaw. In fact, from what I’ve read, even the sunniest spot in Germany can’t hold the proverbial candle to the US. How (and where) else could Weltschmerz have been invented?

Anyway, yes. My son asked me at breakfast to please draw the shades, raising the back of his hand to his eyes like a vampire being drained of strength. The sun is confusing. What if it reveals something to us? Like how dirty our windows are, or the cobwebs fusing the piano to the liquor cabinet? Or something even worse, and more personal? 

Coincidentally, it is Carneval weekend, what most of the world calls Mardi Gras. The Rhine is the magnet for Carneval partiers - Mainz and especially Cologne. Maybe we’re enjoying this sunshine in preparation for a long, dark period of fasting? 

Coincidently, I’m reading Heinrich Böll’s Group Portrait with Lady, set in Cologne. I read it in college decades ago and remembered liking it, despite the lackluster leadership of our literature professor. Re-reading, I find out it is post-modern. Of course it was post-modern in 1984, too, just at that time I didn’t have the faintest idea what that was. So good was our professor! (I’m sure he didn’t know either.) In his defence, he was a German professor and not a literature professor. Which is fortunate because he really sucked at teaching literature. You know that winners of the Nobel Prize for literature don’t win for any particular book, rather they win for a body of writing. Still when Böll won the Nobel Prize, the committee cited Group Portrait as the “crown” of his work.

Song of the day: Was a Sunny Day


Kathleen said...

I read another Boll book with a group but will try this one. (And maybe the professor had been blinded by the sun some sunny day in the past....)

Caroline M Davies said...

I haven't read any Heinrich Boll since my school days. You've got me wanting to go back to him now.

Related Posts with Thumbnails