Sunday, April 1, 2018

"Late Fame" by Arthur Schnitzler / Translated by Alexander Starritt (NYRB)

ISBN: 978-1-68137-084-2
There are writers out there who make me feel that I'm wearing a bullseye sweatshirt, and through their writing/work, they make a direct hit on the bullseye.  The great Austrian author and playwright Arthur Schnitzler is one of the writers that get to me on a personal level on a consistent basis through his narratives.  Like Patricia Highsmith, Schnitzler had the ability to get in one's skin, and once placed there, you can't remove the rash.  Not saying he's like a disease, but more of a writer who can look at a system or a social group and understand their dynamics.  In that sense, he also reminds me of Fassbinder the filmmaker.  Still "Late Fame" is a very funny book on a serious subject matter of regret and how one is accepted into a social world. 

The main character is Eduard Saxberger, an office worker, who one time in his youth, wrote a book of poems "Wanderings" that was published and equally forgotten. Decades later, he eventually meets a young poet/writer who is a fan of this one book and invited Saxberger to be part of his (or their) literary group.  So, after an old man who once was a (failed) poet, has another chance into a literary world, seems promising, but alas, life has its many disappointments. 

Both a satire on literary groups in Vienna, as well as how one sees themselves as time goes marching by.  It's very much an older man's piece of literature, and now that I have reached a certain age, I really identify with some aspects of Saxberger's existence.  But don't we all?  

Post a Comment