Schopenhauer's Telescope by Gerard Donovan

Schopenhauer's Telescope

Gerard Donovan

Two men in a field, one digs a hole and the other stands above him, watching and asking questions. As the afternoon unfolds we get to discover why they are there. I was gripped from page one, it's chilling and hypnotic. The book takes you on a journey into the history and philosophy of war and violence and at the centre there's a mystery which keeps you guessing right to the end.

Extract

'Genghis Khan?' The teacher's eyes widened. 'Did you say Genghis Khan? You know of him?'
'I have studied his ways for over a year. I have read every book in the library that bears his name, even on a single page.'
'Then answer me this: who was more evil, Mr Fievez or Genghis Khan?'
I smiled. 'The books I have gathered on him.'
The teacher took some rocks and made two piles.
'These are skulls,' he said. 'This is Genghis Khan's pile. Each rock is four million people. This is Fievez's pile. Each rock is a hundred people. Same amount of rocks on each side. Who is more evil?'
'Be careful,' I said. 'The rocks might fall into the hole and I'll have to lift them out again.'

Parallels
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka