Jakov Lind
Jakov Lind
Jakov Lind

BOOKS AND PLAYS
SOUL OF WOOD

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  • SOUL OF WOOD
    translated by Ralph Manheim
    London: Jonathan Cape 1964
    London: Panther 1967
    London: Eyre Methuen 1984
    New York: Grove Press 1964, 1965, 1970
    Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Publications 1970
    New York: Hill & Wang 1986

    Wolbrecht is still lying there on the mountain-top, a one-legged skeleton. Without sacraments and unburied, alone and forgotten. The wooden leg, his faithful pet, still stands propped against the tree, exactly as it did then, waiting patiently for the resurrection of its master, which will surely happen some day. Any day.
         from Soul of Wood

    The fellow-passenger looked still paler in the bluish light. His nose was straight, his lips thin, his teeth uncommonly small. He had slick hair like a seal. A moustache, that's what he needs. He could do a balancing act on his nose. Under his clothes he is wet. Why doesn't he show his tusks?
         After 'that's how it is' he said nothing. That settled everything. Now he is smoking.
         His skin is grey, that's obvious it's taut, too. If he scratches himself it will tear. What else is there to look at? He has only one face and his suitcase. What else has he got in the suitcase? Tools? Saw, hammer and chisel? Maybe a drill? What does he need a drill for? To bore holes in skulls?
         from Journey Through the Night


    There is no second time, not before and not after the Messiah, and He doesn't exist anyway. I want to live, Mr. Goldschmied, I want to live and breathe and I don't care how like a dog or a frog or a bedbug, it's all the same to me. I want to live and breathe, to live.
         from Resurrection


    LANDSCAPE IN CONCRETE

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  • LANDSCAPE IN CONCRETE
    translated by Ralph Manheim
    New York: Grove Press 1966
    London: Eyre Methuen 1966
    New York: Pocket Books 1968

    When you lose your way in the Ardennes, you're lost. What use are plans and prayers. A landscape without faces is like air nobody breathes. A landscape in itself is nothing. The country through which German Sergeant Gauthier Bachmann was making his way on the second Monday before Easter was green but lifeless.

    When I'm dead, Bachmann smiled, I'll turn to stone. We're all stones, we can't die, we're all dead already. I've got used to it. I'm not alone as I used to be. Now that I know how sick I am, I'm not lonely any more. I belong. This is something more than a national brotherhood. It's humanity. It doesn't matter any more where a man comes from. We're a huge pile of stones. A pyramid or a quarry. White cliffs. We were never born. Stones of every concievable color and degree of hardness: that's universal humanity ...

    SILVER FOXES ARE DEAD AND OTHER PLAYS

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  • THE SILVER FOXES ARE DEAD AND OTHER PLAYS
    London: Methuen 1968
    New York: Hill & Wang 1969

    B: The old days. Now I see it for the first time. The days before I sang with the birds in the woods, before fear caught up with me, when I still had a skin to peel, when I still had voices for my ears, things to grasp, thoughts in my head, work in the forest, fear of eternity. Fear. What's become of my fear? Now I'm sitting with you in the kitchen. The tea tastes like dust, the bread tastes like wood, and the children have grown up. What now?
         - from Fear


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  • ERGO: A COMEDY
    translated by Ralph Manheim
    New York: Random House 1967
    London: Eyre Methuen 1967
    New York: Hill & Wang 1969

    Slowly and heavily, a hippopotamus rising from the Nile, he rose from the paper mountain, beat the nightmare lewdness out of his clothes and stood there, a squat man of sixty with short gray hair and swollen lips, crossing his hands over his forehead, and looked around him darkly.


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  • COUNTING MY STEPS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
    New York: Macmillan 1969
    London: Jonathan Cape 1970
    London: Panther Publications 1972

    I was born sometime in June '44. In Ludwigshafen. We had just tied her down, lying deep in the water with coal. It was lunchtime. The alarm seemed like a whistle for lunch break. You could see them against the light blue sky, against the sun. Tiny silver wings fluttered high up in the heavens ... A thousand of them. Maybe more. Who can count them? If you see wings fluttering under God's throne, there is usually no reason for alarm, let them howl hysterically. This time it was different. Nothing seemed to fall from above. The earth itself exploded ... the day of judgment has come.

    Language was my real problem ... I needed language to lift what had dropped into the Danube and Rhine and a few other mainstreams of confusion and misery. I needed a language and the time to find it before I could carry on. I knew an antiquated Austrian, a fluent bargeman's Dutch, and a few other sentences in every other European language ... in '45 I had difficulties in expressing even the simplest sentence. I couldn't make plausible what I had to tell. I could talk about the years in Germany but no one could understand.


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  • NUMBERS: A FURTHER AUTOBIOGRAPHY
    New York: Harper & Row
    London: Jonathan Cape 1972

    What do you see when you look back? Not a thing. And when you look ahead? Even less. That's right. That's how it is.
         It was three o'clock in the morning and raining. The train didn't stop anywhere. There were lights somewhere in the countryside, but you couldn't be sure if they were windows or stars.
         The tracks were tracks but why shouldn't there be tracks in the clouds?
         Paris was somewhere at the end of the trip. Which Paris? The earthly Paris with cafes, green buses, fountains, and grimy whitewashed walls? Or the heavenly Paris? Carpeted bathrooms with a view of the Bois de Boulogne?

    I walked up three flights, stood in front of our door and wanted to ring the bell, but what would I say this time if someone opened? I came to look at the white coal box in the kitchen? At the nymphs and fauns still over the bed? May I look for my playing cards? ... I must have died somewhere inside when I left this house in the summer of '38 and I move in an underworld now.


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  • THE TRIP TO JERUSALEM
    New York: Harper & Row 1973
    London: Jonathan Cape 1974

    The Holy Jerusalem is a bustling, overpopulated town. Mount Zion is a bus station. Jerusalem is rebuilt - in the world.


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  • TRAVELS TO THE ENU: The Story of a Shipwreck
    London: Eyre Methuen 1982, 1985
    New York: St. Martin's Press/ Marek 1982

    I awoke from the chill of early morning surrounded by a forest of dark, thin legs. I scrambled to my feet, still dazed from exhaustion, cold and shock, and to my amazement I found myself facing a crowd of the most unbelievable creatures... noses and mouths formed a single snout. Their big, brown cow-like eyes gave them that particular look of slave and savage I had seen so often before in my life ...


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  • Menard Press
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  • THE STOVE
    New York: Sheep Meadows Press 1983
    London: The Menrad Press 1995

    "Have it your way", said Lilith, "have your peaceful life. I am just your other woman. I will not leave you but love you as I always did."
    Adam looked into her eyes and said no more. Her eyes were like doors wide open into a world he had nearly forgotten, and he stepped inside.


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  • THE INVENTOR
    London: Eyre Methuen 1987
    New York: George Braziller 1988

    If I haven't vanished from this earth altogether, dear Boris, I have reached its outer rim from where it's but a small step to enter the void. This must be the last and final station before the end of all journeys.



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  • CROSSING: THE DISCOVERY OF TWO ISLANDS
    London: Methuen 1991

    Why did I cross over to London? I was no refugee and no cossacks chased me away when I packed my few things into one suitcase and left Vienna in 1954. I could think of only one good reason why I had crossed the Channel: to make sure I had no place to return to.