Kavan was always a dark writer, a very dark writer. Like Kafka, she writes of prisons with no bars, of paranoiac nightmares, of living in a halfway world between hell and reality. First published sixty years ago (Doubleday did it in the U.S. in 1946), Asylum Piece charts the descent of the... show more
Kavan was always a dark writer, a very dark writer. Like Kafka, she writes of prisons with no bars, of paranoiac nightmares, of living in a halfway world between hell and reality. First published sixty years ago (Doubleday did it in the U.S. in 1946), Asylum Piece charts the descent of the narrator from the onset of neurosis to final incarceration at a Swiss clinic. This collection of interlinked and largely autobiographical stories (Kavan suffered numerous breakdowns and was a life-long heroin addict) evokes the sense of paranoia and persecution found in The Trial, though her deeply personal, restrained, and almost foreign-accented style has no true model. The same characters who recur throughout-the protagonist's unhelpful advisor,"" the friend/lover who abandons her at the clinic, and an assortment of deluded companions-are sketched without a trace of the rage, self-pity, or sentiment that have marked more recent accounts of mental instability.
Publish date: September 1st 2001
Publisher: Peter Owen Publishers
Pages no: 188
Edition language: English
Many of these stories read as three or four star worthy, but others didn't keep my attention well. I loved the author's "Ice", but I didn't find that magical connection between the book and myself here. I rate it two stars in the Goodreads meaning of "It was OK."
When he was reading this, s.penkevich gave us a quotation:"And it seems both strange and sad to me that all those childish years were spent in preparation for this – that, forgotten by everybody, with a beaten face, I should serve machinery in a place far away from the sun."That did it, I knew I had...
4.5 starsAnna Kavan needs to be more widely read. She is very much a stylistic link between Woolf and Bowen, but perhaps the sheer unclassifiable nature of Kavan’s work—and I’m judging this solely on Asylum Piece and Ice as I’ve not read more just yet—is the cause for the other two writers being bet...
'Asylum Piece', the debut collection of connected stories by Anna Kavan, was the first book by her that I've read. Originally looking for a nice edition of 'Ice', I managed to find this first, and decided to pick it up anyway.A great decision, afterwards, as this modest volume contains a darkly dazz...