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The Will To Sickness

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  11 ratings  ·  6 reviews
This piece of fiction has been translated from German by Tristram Wolff and is part of Burning Deck's Dichten series which focuses on contemporary German writers.

The Will to Sickness is Gerhard Roth's classic 1973 novella. It reveals Roth's "objective prose" at its finest, where aggregates of particular impressions merge with a quasi-scientific emphasis on individual minu
Paperback, 113 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Burning Deck (first published January 1st 1973)
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Nate D
Mar 18, 2014 Nate D rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the fragmentary and formless nature of everyday detail.
Recommended to Nate D by: Nate couldn't remember. Was it you?
How did Kalb endure the inconclusive events of his brain? The word fragments that were caught incessantly by his ear, his absorption of idiosyncratic time, bits of incidents, snippets of events? What made him suffer through this uninterrupted series of fragments? What made him experience these agonizing circumstances as normal?


Nate boarded a bus. He was holding a book. Words crawled on the page, their edges crisply delineated against a white
So I picked a short book, because I didn't want to spend too long reading my current book. This one weighing in at 120 pages, and having lots of pages with less than a half page of text seemed perfect. Little did I know it would take me one subway ride to work to finish the whole book, which sort of was too short for how long I wanted to spend on the book, but oh well.
Anyway, the book itself is kind of weird. I can see people not liking it, but I thought it was incredibly amusing. Basically a p
His urbane brain cut the most magnificent capers, as, chloroformed by fatigue, it directed its incoming perceptions along the most absurd paths and enjoyed the utter senselessness of its associations.
Hyper-consciousness of everything around, of everything inside, beneath the skin (organs, fluids, all sloshing together), tenuous connections with the outside world beyond the incessant observations and processing of said observations. Precise descriptions of the visceral appearance of bodies, pre
A spectacularly successful example of the short novel. Dismal but fascinating for the rather Sartrean disembodiment of its narrator, and the jaundiced eye he casts on the world. Another novel in which "things" somehow take on a life of their own, and become frighteningly real in their ability to shape consciousness, and--it is suggested-- perhaps ARE our very consciousness. Imploding Cartesianism.
Jim Elkins
Aha, a book with no review on Amazon (as of 2008) and no cover picture (again, on Amazon, in 2008). Always a good sign. This is not a very strong book, but it is full of sharp and unpleasant ideas. An intriguing writer.
Mercifully, it was very short.
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“His urbane brain cut the most magnificent capers, as, chloroformed by fatigue, it directed its incoming perceptions along the most absurd paths and enjoyed the utter senselessness of its associations.” 1 likes
“The most tedious details are the most like dreams.” 1 likes
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