There are some passages that are clearly inspired by Kafka but there is also a warmth here that comes because the scenes are being described by someone retelling them from a child’s point of view. As a result certain moments that could be a great deal more sinister in an adult world like the moment the tramp is discovered in the undergrowth or when his father talks of rooms that are ignored disappearing into the fabric of the building are balanced here with tales of the family dog.
But at the same time, mainly via the father, Schulz is able to challenge you to think differently and wonder what happens to a human being once their relationships with each other and other physical objects starts to change. In a way it is a form of madness but does that change in behaviour always have to be frightening? Sometimes it is and on other occasions it is harmless and almost playful.
Bullet points between pages 62 – 130
* The father continues to lecture the young ladies but can be silenced by a flash of ankle or a touch and he seems to have become a prophet but one that is preaching to a limited audience and eventually he drifts back into solitude
* One of his more lucid talks is about rooms that have been left undiscovered and how he once went into one and inside was a forest of plants and trees that disappeared at the end of the night – reminds you of Kafka
* There is a chapter about a dog, Nimrod, that comes into the family and takes its first steps and discovers that it is possible to command an area, in this case the kitchen, and get used to what previously was unknown
* In the chapter about cinnamon shops the narrator (Bruno for ease) is sent home to get his father’s wallet but gets lost and wanders through his school rooms then gets a ride out to the edge of the town on a cables carriage
* Next the area of the Street of Crocodiles is described with the area being one full of illegal booksellers (it would be great to visit one of those), prostitutes and conmen all in all the ugly part of town but also a place where nothing ever comes to fruition and the way he describes the train station is again very Kafkaesque
“At the last moment, when the train is already in the station, negotiations are conducted in nervous haste with the corrupt railway officials. Before these are completed, the train starts, followed slowly by a crowd of disappointed passengers who accompany it a long way down the line before finally dispersing.”pg107
* You get the impression that the father has died although the chronology is off because he then reappears in the following chapter but he goes through a faze where he becomes obsessed with cockroaches and goes as far as starting to imitate them and become like them
The final 50 pages come tomorrow…