Landscape in Concrete (Open Letter Modern Classics)

By: Lind, Jakov

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Sergeant Gauthier Bachmann is the perfect Nazi soldier. But after a horrifying defeat at Voroshenko, where most of his Eighth Hessian Infantry Regiment was slaughtered in a single instant, Bachmann was declared mentally unfit to serve. Incapable of accepting this judgment, and of returning to his girlfriend and a quiet life as a gold- and silversmith, Bachmann wanders the war-ravaged countryside, trying to find a way to rejoin his regiment, or any regiment, and return to the front. While trying to find his regiment and come to terms with the horrors he has seen and committed, the increasingly unstable Bachmann is manipulated by a series of figures from the underbelly of war's underbelly--deserters and collaborators, corrupt officers and sexual predators--who induce him to carry out their venal missions, which they've justified against the background of institutionalized murder going on all around them. Containing dark echoes of Jaroslav Hasek's The Good Soldier Svejk, Jakov Lind's Landscape in Concrete is an "astonishing and highly original imagining of (the) dimensions of evil including sadistic cruelty, of the condition of being a victim and the madness abroad which constitutes the virtual victory of Hitler if we fail to translate survival into freedom" (Anthony Rudolf). When you lose your way in the Ardennes, you're lost. What use are plans and prayers. A landscape without faces is like air nobody breathes. A landscape in itself is nothing. The country through which German Sergeant Gauthier Bachmann was making his way on the second Monday before Easter was green but lifeless. . . .] And then the unexpected happened. From a hole in the ground no bigger than a fox's burrow popped acreature with his finger pressed to his lips. Pst, pst, he went, and a man, small, dark, and skinny, crawled out of the hole, shook his fist in Bachmann's stomach and yelled: You're caving in my entrance, you damn fool. Get away from me, you Bachmann was scared stiff. He hauled off and poked his stick into the ghost's side. It writhed with pain and made faces. You've hurt my kidney, the critter whimpered. Good, said Bachmann and got ready to strike again. Then it dawned on him: the ghost spoke his mother tongue. You're not a mole? Me a mole? Are you crazy? I'm a German. A German? Bachmann wasn't going to be made a fool of. He was delirious with hunger. In such a state, he knew, all sorts of things can happen. The critter held his side and limped around him in a circle. You're a liar Whish He tried to shoo him away, but the little fellow kept nimbly beyond his reach. Whish, Bachmann went, get away He spun around, brandishing the stick. How can it be a German? Must be some cross between a man and a beast, like those mongrels that sometimes get born in out-of-the-way places. But I am a German. We talk the same language, don't we? The argument had its effect. Standing by the entrance to the burrow, Bachmann lifted his right boot. Don't, the other cried out. Don't do it That's my home His home? ran through Bachmann's head, then he must be lying. That's no kind of home for a human being. He brought his right boot down with full force. The boot vanished in the ground. The construction was frail, further proof that the whole thing must be a trap. . . .] What's your name? Xavier Schnotz, my company is over there. He pointed in the direction from which Bachmann had come. You know that?Bachmann was amazed. You know that and you stay here? I didn't see a thing. I haven't met a soul in a whole month. If it weren't for the planes, I'd have thought I was dead long ago. The Elysian fields. Don't insult the fields, said Schnotz. Without these fields I'd have been dead long ago. Do you realize how warm it is down there? No. Plenty warm. You're a stinker. You've wrecked my house. But I won't go with you. If you keep on going, you'll be at the border by tonight. Without me. I'm staying here until it's over. Have to dig myself a new hole. It's too risky in the hut. Hut? Too risky, I tell you. It's up against the wall for the like of us, or the noose. Bachmann stood up: I'm beginning to catch on. You're a deserter. Sure, what else. And I thought you were lost. So you're a deserter. That's great. Schnotz detected something wrong in the tone. What do you mean: So you're a deserter? What are you, a Wehrmacht patrol? Not at all. But I'm not a deserter either. Not by a long shot. The opposite. I'm looking for my regiment. I don't get you. Oh yes, you do. I'm looking for my regiment. And if I don't find my own, I'll join another. Been on sick leave long enough. High time I was doing something. Schnotz was thunderstruck. He must be pretty far gone. Or he's an informer. Crazy idea. They wouldn't send out an informer like that. . . .] What Bachmann was telling him struck him as so implausible that he didn't trust his ears. Plan A, said Bachmann, is maybe the simplest. I creep into an army camp at night and hide in the cellar. I wait for a fresh batch of recruits to turn up, and as soon as I hear them marching through the gate, I pop out. I wait till they're in the shower room, nakedeverybody looks alike. Then to the quartermaster's, I draw a new uniform, and I'm in the clear. Sure, I lose my rank, but I get a second chance. That's worth the sacrifice. What I need is an old camp building with as many passages, rooms, and storerooms as possible. You don't think much of it, I can see that by your face. Plan B. Combat situation. It's hard to get there. There are sentries, patrols, and manned trenches all over. But once you've broken through, you're in the clear. After that you just have to show you've got what it takes. I'm no coward, friend; you can take my word for it. Mortars and such things don't scare me. The more noise there is the better I like it. You don't know me. The only part I don't go for is wet trenches and mud. Aside from that any kind of terrain suits me. Once the fighting is over, I lay my cards on the table. I tell t

Title: Landscape in Concrete (Open Letter Modern Classics)

Author Name: Lind, Jakov

Categories: Other,

Publisher: Open Letter:

ISBN Number: 1934824143

ISBN Number 13: 9781934824146

Binding: PAPERBACK

Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: Z1934824143Z3

Description: 1934824143 Clean, unread paperback with modest shelfwear including a very small bump/tear/crease to the cover and a publisher's mark to one edge - otherwise Nice!