It's not clear whether Fritz is an adult who's not all there or whether he's an angstful teenager with an active imagination, literary pretensions and a typewriter, but it hardly matters. The glimpses we get of his life — brief exchanges with his mother and sister, fantasies about a girl who lives in one of the other flats, visits to a friend who works as a pathologist in a morgue — are fragments in a surreal narrative, mixed up with comic existential monologues.
"Today my name is Fritz again. I have one problem: I exist. My biggest success in life is that I'm not dead yet. My biggest failure in life is exactly the same thing: I'm not dead yet. I was born and as a result I suffer all the consequences. If I exist, that's because I wanted to. I don't see any other possibility. I honestly envy those who don't exist. Those with no names and shape. Those who have no clue that they don't exist. But sooner or later they'll be drawn into the game too. Everybody succumbs in the end. If it weren't so, people would stop having children."
Chinese Letter is a lively, inventive comedy which would make fine theatre of the absurd. It's easy reading, entertaining and hard to put down.
- External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
- details at Dalkey Archive Press
- share this review on Facebook or Twitter