THE SECRET HEART OF THE CLOCK: Notes, Aphorisms, Fragments 1973-1985 by Elias Canetti

THE SECRET HEART OF THE CLOCK: Notes, Aphorisms, Fragments 1973-1985

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Canetti's great age (""And what if you were told: One more hour?"") coincides, in these journal fragments, with his Nobel Prize and heretofore unknown fame (""Success is the space one occupies in the newspaper. Success is one day's insolence""), as well as his saturnine mittel-Europisch honesty (""I don't want to know what I was; I want to beome what I was""). A book so runic is not easy to read, all flow being banished; unlike paragraphs, separate apercus frequently bounce off one another like billiard balls rather than conjoin. So you find straining (""Sometimes he feels as if he were wearing false eyes implanted by God"") bracketed by the conventional ""seriousness"" (""The narrowness of nature consists in her massive powers of multiplication. She suffocates herself, and we are only her students when we suffocate ourselves"") as well as by superb insight (""Everyone wants powerful friends. But they want friends more powerful than themselves""). A mosaical portrait of an old body's mind determined to do its exercises and not lose a step--and fascinating for that.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux