The Confusions of Young Toerless
book — Austria — 1906

Strange that this author was not on my "best of German writers" list. He`s Austrian, of course, but that doesn`t change that much. "The Confusions" lies somewhere in the middle between "David Copperfield" and Proust`s work. We have a school of tyranny but it`s not the kind of tyranny Mr. Dickens wrote about. It`s somewhat even darker, although the teachers don`t punish the students, it`s the students themselves who punish themselves. Toerless goes to this school and he starts to admire a guy named Beidenberg (something like that cool guy in "David Copperfield"), but he doesn`t know his attitude to everything when Basini is involved. The latter is a weak character who has stolen money from Beidenberg and is sexually and not only tortured by Beidenberg and another strange guy Reiting. Toerless doesn`t really know what his position is, he tries to understand Kant and imaginary numbers, but the only thing he learns to understand is that the world is not that easy to explain. Reitling is the primitive character, for whom torturing is nothing except for physical pleasure, while Beidenberg is more profound - and therefore he`s even worse. He`s a vicious thinker, and that`s a tough thing. Quote: "Das Sterben ist nur eine Folge unserer Art zu leben. Wir leben von einem Gedanken zum andern, von einem Gefuehl zum naechsten. Denn unsere Gedanken und Gefuehle fliessen nicht ruhig wie ein Strom, sondern sie "fallen uns ein", fallen in uns hinein wie Steine.(..) Wenn du aufmerkst, kannst du den Augenblick spueren, wo alles schwarz ist. Dieser Augenblick ist, - einmal erfasst, fuer uns geradezu der Tod." A very impressive book, certainly quite above my expectations.
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