The Water Statues

Fleur Jaeggy, trans. from the Italian by Gini Alhadeff. New Directions, $13.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-8112-2975-3
In this strange and shimmering nonlinear text from Swiss writer Jaeggy (I Am the Brother of XX), the lonely children of the wealthy and their eccentric employees negotiate the boundary between companionship and solitude. In Amsterdam, Beeklam grows up with only his father, Reginald, after the death of his mother, Thelma. Reginald never remarries and lives in seclusion with his servant, Lampe, a man curiously similar to him: “the two men had hardly met but were in perfect agreement, two finicky little plants,” Jaeggy observes. As an adult, Beeklam stocks the basement of his house with statues and spends more and more time with them, “losing control of the hours and of life.” Beeklam, too, has only one companion: his servant, Victor. After Reginald, at 70, suddenly leaves his house and abandons Lampe, Lampe goes to work for Kaspar, another widower who was a friend of Thelma’s. Through this new connection to Kaspar and a child who lives with him and may be Kaspar’s daughter, Beeklam and Victor’s small universe grows a little larger. In short, enjoyably expressionistic sections, Jaeggy sketches the emotional lives of people marooned but not content to remain entirely alone. What emerges is a fascinating and memorable portrait of a milieu obsessed with the passing of time. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/21/2021
Release date: 09/07/2021
Genre: Fiction
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X