cover image Secret Heart of the Clock

Secret Heart of the Clock

Elias Canetti. Farrar Straus Giroux, $19.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-374-25694-4

Dealing largely with the meaning and significance of words and names in various languages, these jottings and paradoxes, by the Bulgarian-born Nobel Laureate, reflect on the indignity of life, death, reincarnation, longevity and immortality, the development of ritualism in the child, and the importance and gist of Aubrey, Dostoyevski, Kafka, Klaus Mann, Schopenhauer, Sophocles, Walser, Lear , Zola and Cezanne. There are occasional quotations from Plutarch, Soutine, Faulkner (``I never tell reporters the truth''), Wittgenstein and Wisdom of the Fathers . Canetti remarks that ``each sentence connects with another,'' but ``between them lie a hundred years.'' Except to passionate Canettiphiles, these fragmentary notes will have little connection or significance, and will not add to the author's stature or reputation. (Sept.)