The Brilliance of Ingeborg

Her brilliance; we are sitting in front of a Roman estate agent, who is renting the apartment of a baronessa and gives us to understand, the baronessa may prefer an American diplomat as a tenant, DOTTORE, she says aghast, like a king’s daughter gone unrecognised, and she hesitates, SENTA, she says, SIAMO SCRITTORI, and the apartment is ours; terrace with a view over Rome. Often she is away for weeks; I wait in her Rome. Once, when I knew she had already set out for Rome, I could not wait another hour, so drive out before the city and keep watch at a bend in the road; I wait for her blue Volkswagen. To welcome her. Just in case, the driver does not see me on the road, my car is ready to start facing ROMA/CENTRO. Volkswagens pass again and again, blue ones too, so I wave. Perhaps she is still dining in Siena, RISTORANTE DI SPERANZA, I have time. Now she has not recognised me, but it does not take me long to catch up with her; I can see her round head from behind, her hair. She clearly does not understand my hooting, and it takes a while until I can drive up the way the police drive up to another car to stop it, and then she is frightened. I am a fool and I know it. Her freedom is part of her brilliance.

— Max Frisch, Montauk

Remembering Ingeborg Bachmann in Frisch’s Montauk, as I start a novel I’ve always been ashamed to say I haven’t read: Bachmann’s only novel, Malina, published in German in 1971, two years before her awful death.

And two writers who should be more widely available in English.

2 Responses to The Brilliance of Ingeborg

  1. ilargia64 says:

    Do you think it was a suicide? Seems to be there are some doubts….

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