4 thoughts on “Skin and Grief – R. Ostermeier

  1. A story 22 luxurious pages long, and long enough to deeply disturb…any longer, would be lethal, and indeed it may still be lethal once I start to understand it properly…
    Published in 2021, it contains this sentence…

    “I think it was made in Ukraine.”

    And, using some of that country’s letters, RIKE is the name of the main protagonist, someone whom the narrator is counselling, but really that narrator is the main protagonist whom the readers slowly become, as we find out we are being counselled not to fully understand what we are being told so as to make it impossible to re-narrate its matter more clearly to others, about the bacon processing plant and their scraps, causing scavenging cats whom we earmark with what I see as peninsulas of gristle clipped from their ears, showing that we have spayed or castrated them, about the Chernobyl trees, about the dance around the fire pit, and tiny folk with their own ears clipped, some of these folk wooden and engrained in our own wooden hearts….as we move along a pipe as a conduit into death. The only thing I want to remember about this work is its music. Other than Rike, all the other characters were stilty or reachy. All skin and grief. I don’t want to become like them. I want to survive atrocity. A case history in man’s cruelty to animal as self. So, I didn’t allow its gestalt to talk to me, by deliberately not reading its last two sentences. Importuned to do so, though, by someone else running their fingers through my hair…

    “The core of the dream was a wooden woman, bloody to the elbows,…”

  2. Pingback: “bloody to the elbows” | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews (from 2008)

  3. Rainer Maria Rilke

    from Internet:
    “Rilke’s journeys to the Russian Empire in the spring of 1899 and summer of 1900 were an early and formative experience. The second took him south from Moscow to Ukraine, where he visited Kyiv, Kaniv (Taras Shevchenko’s grave on Chernecha Hill), and Poltava. Rilke is known to have been interested at the time in the early, thematically Ukrainian stories of Nikolai Gogol, and to have acquired a copy of Shevchenko’s Kobzar in Russian translation. He did not, however, clearly distinguish between Russia and Ukraine, and his responses to what he saw in Russia and Ukraine were strongly influenced by the turn-of-the-century myth of the simple and god-seeking ‘Russian soul.’”

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