Ergo by Jakov Lind ; Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim
New York: Random House, 1967. Stated "First American Edition" on the copyright page. Hardcover. 150 pages ; 22 cm. $3.95 dust jacket. Rubber stamp on the front free end paper. Binding is firm. Pages are clean and unmarked.
Slowly and heavily, a hippopotamus rising from the Nile, he rose from the paper mountain, beat the nightmare of virginal lewdness out of his clothes and stood there, a squat man of sixty with short gray hair and swollen lips.
Introducing the brown vestige of Roman Wacholder.
Everything is fine and dandy, and at the same time all wrong. The world stands on its head and looks strikingly normal. I have nothing to reproach myself with and never stop reproaching myself. I have nothing to be afraid-of and I'm always afraid.
This state of affairs is named Ossias Wurz.
Once brothers of the same Austrian, even German spirit but' now bitter enemies, Wacholder and Wiirz seek a better world. Wacholder lives with his two adopted sons in ah abandoned customs house crammed to the roof with reams of unused Government paper. He is determined to drive Wurz, his wife and stepsons out of their hermetically sealed house.
Wacholder's life is a series of frustrations: His mistress, a Minister of Trade, leaves him; his poison pen letters and his "Congress for the denial of Wurz's existence" fail to budge his enemy; he is even unable to qualify as a war criminal. Nothing is left for Wacholder but to seek a better world by digging a hole in which to bury himself.
Ergo, Jakov Lind's third book, extends the range of his concern with the emotional tenor of the postwar world. As with his memorable book of short stories, Soul of Wood, and his novel, Landscape in Concrete, Lind again pushes paradox to its furthest extreme in brilliantly indicting man's agression, his capacity to wage war despite the horrors of history.
Called by Maxwell Geismar, "the most notable short story writer to appear in the last two decades," Jakov Lind was born in Vienna in 1927. Lind was eleven years old when the Germans occupied Austria, but managed to escape to Holland and later spent two years in Germany using forged identification papers. After a series of jobs— among them construction worker, fisherman, photographer and orange picker—Lind settled in England, where he now lives with his wife and two children.
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