Friday, August 17, 2012
The Letter Killers Club - Under the Microscope
The Letter Killers Club
This is a strange and interesting little book, of course published by one of my favourite publishers -- NYRB (New York Review of Books). It's about a small club of men, of "conceivers," who gather to tell each other ideas and stories, but these "conceptions" can never be written down. They exist solely in the minds of the teller and the listeners. Writing, of course, is a corruption of an idea, a falseness.
And so we have a short written novel about writing and storytelling, and how these two things converge... and diverge. A novel about the corruption of writing, a novel that tells a story of the men in this club, but also of the "conceptions" they tell each other. And all this is set in a dark and slightly surreal Moscow in the 1920s, and so everything in the story tumbles inwards, with stories and symbols reflecting and refracting upon each other. What is an idea, and how is it corrupted? And is that corruption inevitable? This is a fascinating novel about writing, stories, the life of the mind, and the interaction of ideology on reality.