Thursday, January 29, 2004

Forgotten New Year's Resolution

10. Read Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities (vol. 1 and vol. 2) from start to finish. I do not know how many times I have started that book, but it keeps kicking my butt. It's huge. It is so long and convoluted that I get about 200 pages into it (say, chapter 46, "Ideals and morality are the best means for filling that big hole called the soul," or chapter 47, "What all others are separately, Arnheim is rolled into one") and stop reading for a while (only 2,200 more pages to go), but then if I try to pick up where I left off I cannot remember what is going in the story. So I go back to the beginning, read about 200 pages, and stop. (NB (to self): Musil did not finish the book, and that makes it even more frustrating since I know that when I get to the end--and I will get to the end--it will not really be an end.) You ask, "Why does he not sell the book and give it up?" and I reply, "I have sold the books once, and then I bought them back." In the end, it cannot be explained at all.

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