måndag, april 18, 2005

Seven Types of Ambiguity av Elliot Perlman

På tryckortssidan finns några numrerade ord. Det står:

1. Triangels (Interpersonal relations) - Fiction. 2. Melbourne (Vic.) - Fiction. 3. Married people - Fiction. 4. Psychiatrists - Fiction. 5. Businessmen - Fiction. 6. Kidnapping - Fiction.

På nästa sida står det:

For Debbie

Bläddrar, ett citat:

God has pity on kindergarten children.
He has less pity in school children.
And on grownups he has no pity at all,
he leaves them alone,
and sometimes they must crawl on all fours...

Och så är det igång. Ensamma människor i svinkalla världar som vrålar vrider sig efter kärlek och något verkligt som gör dom synliga och sanna.

1. Triangels (Interpersonal relations) - Fiction.
Det är Simon, sparkad småskolelärare som har ett förhållande med en prostituerad, Angela som älskar honom, men Simon drömmer fortfarande om Anna, som lämnade honom för över tio år sedan. Anna är gift med Joe. Joe ligger med Angela och berättar för henne om sitt äktenskap. Angela berättar för Simon. Simon kidnappar Sam, Annas och Joes son.

2. Melbourne (Vic.) - Fiction.
Någon har kostym och tror sig veta allt efter ett handslag. Någon jobbar inte. En tredje jobbar fast hon inte behöver. En fjärde, femte, sjätte, sjunde gör vad som helst för pengar till en en bil, ett hus. Det är för långt för barnen att kunna promenera till skolan. Folk kommer inte förbi, du känner ingen i din trappuppgång. Mellan jobbet, hemmet, skolan, träningen händer inget.

3. Married people - Fiction.
Ett exempel. Anna berättar för Joe att Sam har fått svårt att koncentrera sig i skolan:

"They even mentioned ADD."
"What's that?"
"Attention deficit disorder."
"Oh, that's bullshit, Anna. He gets plenty of attention. Is this since the... the night he was taken?"
"That's not what ADD means, and anyway, they say it started before that."
We looked at each other guiltily. My eyes grew moist, and I didn't know why. Perhaps it was the way she was speaking to me. She had not spoken to me in that gentle, soothing tone in the longest time. It was how she still sounded when she was alone with Sam. How in God's name was I meant to know how to be married? It had seemed enough once just to know how to choose a wife.

4. Psychiatrists - Fiction.
Alex Klima är Simons psykolog. Angel är den prostituerade som också hon kan berätta om Simons kärlek för poesin, för Empson och hans tro på otydligheterna, the ambiguities, det icke-extrema, det som inte går att katalogisera som kärnan i att vara människa.

Simon has said that the reason his father had no time for poetry is that he is afraid of the messiness of life. Poetry feeds on all that spills over the boundaries of the usual things, the everyday things with which most people are obsessed, so William has no time for it. He cannot think of anything more unneccessary. What about you? What's your excuse?

5. Businessmen - Fiction.
Joe är uppkomling på ett fondbolag. Laffenden har fått sparken.

Joe: Many people here have never liked Laffenden. He's young an loud, he's made a lot of money, and he's told everyone about it. In this he is like a lot of the people in the firm. Many people here have never liked many people here. When, years later, Laffenden remembers all those eyes watching him carry his boxes from his workstation by the window, down the passages formed between the desks, past the photocopy machine and the water cooler, past reception to the elevator; when he remembers certain half-whispered comments from colleagues who he would not have expected to so relish his demise, comments he was only half meant to hear made in the near orgasmic relief that it is Laffenden and not the maker of the comment who is dead, comments made to themselves, rather than to him, which attempted to explain why this was happening to him and not to them - when, years later, Laffenden remembers all this, he probably won't remember that many people here never liked many people here. He won't remember that it was nothing personal.

6. Kidnapping - Fiction.
Sam kanske kidnappade pojken för att han kan förstå hur det var att vara övergiven. Simons föräldrar låtsades, Anna övergav Simon. Nu överger både Anna och Joe Sam genom att låtsas, vara otrogna, strömlinjeformade och borta.

Joe: Anna gets to make toasted sandwiches for him. Cheese and tomato and cheese and ham. She makes soft-boiled eggs for him, four and a half minutes. He can't grow up without knowing that I know that it's four and a half minutes.

Elliot Perlman
Seven Types of Ambiguity. 2003. Riverhead Books, : ISBN 1-57322-281-X

Elliot Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity, which comes to us hailed as "Australia's equivalent of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections," is so bad, so incompetent, and so long, there must be broad historical currents involved. New York magazine

Perlman's novel is a colossal achievement, a complicated, driven, marathon of a book. And fashion is the last thing on his mind in what is, in part, an unworldly elegy for values he misses in the mercenary modern Australia he describes. Not that he is a preacher. He is far too subtle, conflicted and areligious for that. He is also too brilliant a storyteller. His narrative structure is intellectually dashing and reading it is an endlessly pleasurable navigation. Observer

---there's a certain irony in Simon's simultaneous recognition of the ambiguity in poetry - and his non-recognition of the ambiguity in his former relationship with Anna
Elliot Perlman om Seven Types of Ambiguity i en radiointervju (utskriven) i ABC .

Hör Michael Silverblatt lära Elliot Perlman ett och annat.