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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Psychological
  • Language:English
  • Pages:220
  • eBook ISBN:9781483540832

And That's Called Sad

by Balint Hancz

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Now, my mum is a good mum, but sometimes she can be a cunt. She went ballistic when I failed my thesis. In all fairness, it wasn’t a real dissertation, just a collection of vague ideas of what a dissertation might be about. I could have chosen something shorter than Proust, though, a Baudelaire poem, like Isa, or a Marguerite Duras novella, like Karl. No, I had to prove something to myself. I had to read all seven of the books, in French, annotating everything, avoiding all people, avoiding all fun. I spent a big chunk of my life writing it, and it was such a waste of time. It did nothing for me, except for changing my life.
After another weekend of not doing anything of value, Valerie, a 25-year old librarian is prepared to spend another sleepless night alone in her drab London bedsit. As the hours slowly crawl by, she tries each of her usual tricks to lull her mind, but her problems and worries, not to mention her noisy neighbors, keep pulling her back to reality. As she is wading through her memories, good and bad, her thoughts keep returning to two of her best friends: Isa, an art-loving fellow French teacher, who always organized theme parties in her vast flat filled with antiques, where she could get drunk and babble happily about her love of art films and ye-ye music, and Karl, a gay German hedonist, who keeps trying in vain to show her the other side of life, a world of beauty, luxury, lust and fame. But life is not a French erotic novel, it is not as dazzling as Last Year at Marienbad, or as heart-wrenching a Shangri-Las record, and reality keeps on rearing its ugly head up in her reveries. As sleep does not want to come and morning approaches, slowly her old resentments start to bubble up, she is overcome by depression thinking back how she always hated school and her French literature course; how big of a blow was for her when she failed her thesis dissertation on bird symbols in Proust; how she tried in vain to break into the art world; how money always eluded her, and how she hates her job, her cold mother, her vulgar father and all of the prospects life can offer her. But most of all, she regrets how her friendships have gone sour, and while Karl and Isa can bravely carry on and succeed on life's battlefield, she is slowly left behind, disgusted by the compromises she has to make, but jealous of their charisma and confidence. It seemed all that life had to offer her is shallowness, noise and poverty. But now she has an escape plan and she is going to fight to get it through.
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