by Yasmina Reza

This book is short but intense. It's a monologue by an old man facing up to old age and death. There is sad humour, rage, helplessness and bleak acceptance- desolation in fact.


In a single generation you have swept away the only credo that has ever motivated me. I whose only terror is daily monotony, I who would push open the gates of Hell to escape such a mortal enemy, I have a son who's rotting in leisure. Maybe you knew from the beginning - what a piece of wisdom, if that's the case! - that we're all condemned to be inferior to ourselves. The world shrivels me day by day. And though I have struggled relentlessly but in vain against this desiccation, it was a battle lost before it began. So, you'll say, secure in the wretched mishmash of commonplace mediocrity that seems to be your substance, was there any point in joining battle at all?
Translated by Carol Brown Janeway


At Paradise Gate by Jane Smiley

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