‘At first they keep swimming. Or they paddle a bit. Or they sit in tiny diving machines, or they hang onto motors that pull them through the surf. But they don’t make it. Somewhere out there, water fails … Some wash up over there. Some are pulled out of the sea with the day’s catch. The fishermen radio the dead over the sea, and talk about them later in their bars – “another one who tried to make it, well, cheers,” and so on …’[…]‘The fishermen know the currents here. They know them exactly. They know just how long the dead can be in transit.’[…]‘They know how long they stayed underwater and when the sea brought them up again and what they look like at that point and how they look at you with their rotten eyes…’ […]‘But no one, I repeat, no one over there knows who the dead are. That is, they’re kept on ice, on the kingdom’s good, cold ice, and they wait until someone comes to claim them. But no one ever comes. No one. Not ever.’ (pp. 152-3)
Across from the boiler stood a row of large, broken-down closets. ‘Our supply stores,’ Kruso called, ‘and here, the archive!’ He pressed a pair of checked trousers into Ed’s chest, thin and with a cloth belt, just like the ones Rolf and Chef Mike wore. Ed would rather not have tried on the trousers in front of Kruso, but he did. If he had any ability, then it was this: he could sense what was expected of him; he could perceive how the world the others lived in was constituted. At such times, he had moments of utter clarity when he understood, and he could behave accordingly when he wished. Maybe it was a kind of compensation – for the fact that he was missing a particular trait, something that brought people closer, that bound them together.The first pair was much too large, and, in the second and third pairs as well, Ed looked like a dwarf in clown’s clothes. These steps were called fittings and dressings. Friday was given his goatskin. After they found the right pair of pants, Kruso draped a long white chef’s coat over Ed’s shoulders. Ed felt Kruso’s eyes on him, the pleasure. (p.97)
On the whole, it was more than closeness and more than confidence. Essentially it was a common alienation that underlay their friendship. That both were unable to speak about what weighed most heavily on their souls seemed to bind them closer than any confession. They simply didn’t have the words, and understanding meant not deceiving themselves about it. In any case, nothing could be rectified. The source of their unhappiness (which also determined their actions) was better off elevated in a poem. (p.203)
There was no light in the hallway. Past the turn towards Kruso’s room began Monika’s lovely fragrance, exactly what Ed imagined the smell of oranges to be. He had only met the little invisible one once smell of oranges to be. He had only met the little invisible one once. But then again, he had only ever eaten oranges once in his life, when he was a child, in 1971, when all of a sudden southern fruit were available in stores on account of changes in the power structure – ‘due to the transition’ as his father explained it at the time. There had been no further transitions since then, and too much time had passed for Ed to remember exactly what oranges smelled like. (p.114)
Title: KrusoTranslated by Tess Lewis
Publisher: Scribe Publishing, 2017
Review copy courtesy of Scribe Publishing.