Wonderful, Wonderful Times

Wonderful, Wonderful Times by Elfriede Jelinek Read Free Book Online

Book: Wonderful, Wonderful Times by Elfriede Jelinek Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elfriede Jelinek
Tags: Fiction, General
children because the wife was Jewish. Before he died he had one final opportunity to display his profoundly humane brand of humour, which was not a destructive sense of humour. That kind of humour only works if it comes from deep inside. Deep inside he was lacerated by fast-acting poison. Some people die less conspicuously and perhaps the torment they suffer is even greater. As it was, his innards were torn apart, and all that remained to posterity of the Danish teller of fairy tales was celluloid. Something survived him, at any rate.
    What wonderful, wonderful times they were. Scorching hot desert sand.
    IT IS ESPECIALLY mild, this spring light that enters through the glass doors designed by Lalique, doors that were at the World Fair in Paris back in the twenties and subsequently brought to Vienna. In her own imagination, Sophie is also made of glass, or sparkling china, or (best of all) high-grade steel. Sport polishes Sophie up and has already succeeded in making her agile all-round. And what sport cannot manage, her father's library accomplishes: supplying the cultural background. She is more of a sporting lass than a culture vulture, though. No intellectual supers wot, Sophie. All of her contours are rounded, firmed up and gleaming. Dirt is altogether alien to the way she is, just as years ago everything that was un-German was alien to the Germans, artfremd, though nowadays of course a mighty tourist industry is getting under way, bringing the world into the Germans' homes or else transporting the Germans far from their homes to the world.
    Nor is there any point on that smooth surface where an attacker could get a purchase. True, it is a tempting challenge to a groper, but he invariably loses his grip. Sophie enters wearing a tennis dress (she almost always wears some sporting outfit or other) and asks Rainer (who has a love for her that he doesn't show, so as not to compromise his position): Can you just lend me a twenty for the taxi, I haven't got any money on me and Mama's gone out for tea. Weeping softly, Rainer rummages in his little purse, Sophie gets the money, which represents a large sum to Rainer and which he will undoubtedly never see again. Because money means nothing to Sophie. She takes its availability for granted. Whereas Rainer gazes after his delicious twenty for quite a while, even after it's long since flown the coop. Rainer's father considers that riding
    in taxis indicates an ambition to be a grand seigneur, an ambition that his son must quash, but it's pointless if he goes paying for other people's taxis. To Sophie, a taxi is a means of transport.
    Sophie will never give the money back. She will forget about it. Because for her it has no real value.
    Rainer's thoughts will dwell compulsively on that and other money. But he will never dare ask for it back.
    The carpet is a great soft Persian expanse, Sophie is something you have to get inside but you don't know how because there's nothing to get a grip on. Should you fuck her in the mouth and pound her tongue to pulp so that she can't come out with any more of those thoughtless hurtful things she says, or should you do it from down below, which poses problems since she never lets you anywhere near the way in. You slip off. Though slipping off is nothing compared with the downhill social slide! It's the lesser evil. There may of course be a causal connection.
    Modern paintings and objets everywhere, emanating long traditions in culture and art which you can only share in once you have taken possession of these things somehow or other. The best way of doing this is to take possession of Sophie, but (see above) there are no loops or straps to get hold of her by. Though Rainer has studied the rules of art thoroughly and has a good knowledge of them he owns no art objects whatsoever. Oh and anyway, the rules of art do not exist, because what makes art art is the fact that it obeys no rules at all. Rainer has reached this conclusion all on his own.

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