Tuesday, March 26, 2013

THE BRIDGE OVER THE NEROCH: evidence for why you should buy and read it RIGHT NOW



 WHY YOU SHOULD BUY, RIGHT NOW, LEONID TSYPKIN'S THE BRIDGE OVER THE NEROCH AND OTHER WORKS    (New Directions, 2013)

The smell of the metro in 1972 is identical to that of the metro in 1936, and for a second I experienced the same feeling of irrational trenchant joy that I did then, in 1936; it seems to me that right now, when I rise to the surface, I’ll be under the same blinding July sun near the Sokol metro station. I don’t remember why I was there, I only remember the blinding sun the tall, new buildings I’d never seen before, and the burning, cold taste of an Eskimo Bar--- Moscow is the only place they have Eskimo Bars, nowhere else, they’re almost synonymous with Moscow.  However, for some reason I can remember the faces of the people who sat in my train car, rode up the escalator, and walked down the streets: What did they look         like?  Who did they look like?  Like heroes from the films Circus or Jolly Fellows in overly wide ties (back in fashion again now) and baggy trousers, their na├»ve good-natured faces filled with belief in a happy future, or like Natalya Rozenel, in a long dress with short hair, and wide-open eyes spinning in amazement?  I exert my memory but in vain: there are no faces, no suits, no people.  What is it--- my forgetfulness or the forgetfulness of history?  And will my neighbors in the subway train of 1972 and I disappear in the same way from the memory of the schoolboy in a nylon jacket sitting right across from me now?  He already has an almost fashionable haircut, and I can make out the features of a youthful student in him, tall and thin, sweeping their hair out of their eyes with a casual movement of the head like this entire generation--- I see his features when he is no longer a student, but a husband, a newlywed with a wedding ring and a string bag in hand, hurrying home with his purchases; and just like me, he will disappear from the memory of those who will see him, and for a moment I imagine all the people filling this car--- worried, carefree, having just left a woman or traveling to a rendezvous, discussing the morning planning meeting, riding with sketches, folders, synopses, with lawyer’s briefs typed on twenty-two pages--- the lawyers’ pencils follow the lines and underline particularly important places that should be emphasized during the hearing.  For a moment, I imagine all of them lying in identical poses their arms crossed on their chests, their heads arched back. their faces yellow, wax-like:   All of them, as though on command--- some sooner, others later--- will disappear, leaving nothing behind, and the crowds sauntering along the wide streets during the holidays will disappear in the very same way, and sometimes I imagine that they are all riding with me in one car--- bipeds dressed in suits with briefcases and purses in hand.

THERE IS NO NEED TO SAY MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK.  YOU MIGHT KNOW TSYPKIN'S SUMMER IN BADEN-BADEN... if so, you know why I am only quoting this passage... If the sentences I have quoted do not catch you then there is nothing more to be said...