A Novel of Harvard


14 November 2018

Note: When I began writing what is in the end a very autobiographical novel, I thought it would be obvious that the story is being told by what is known technically as an “unreliable narrator.” I thought such a narrator would elicit more understanding of David, the story’s main character.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. It has not been obvious at all to many readers that the narrator is unreliable. They tend to identify the author with narrator. In fact, the author should be identified with David.

The narrator is meant to represent all those people whose views of David were misguided, obtuse, selfish, and ignorant.

The narrator can indeed be disliked and even despised because of the way he sees David, but the author does not see things the way the narrator does. The author did, however, once experience and think and see things as David does. In very many respects, in fact, this is still true.

I suppose a better writer would not have to explain all this.

(Bemerkung: Auf den Anfang einer deutschen Übersetzung des Romans, nur als eine Art Sprachübung durchgeführt, kann man unten rechts zugreifen. Das Kapitel, das zur Zeit übersetzte wird, befindet sich unten.)

(Note: The beginning of a German translation of the novel, done purely as a kind of language exercise, is available by selecting the appropriate link to the right. The chapter that is currently being translated is below. The entire English version of the book is available through the links on the right side of this page.)

Teil 1, Kapitel 24

„…welches…ihn aus den Toren des Gewordenen und Gegebenen ins abenteuerlich Ungewisse treibt…“.
–Thomas Mann
Joseph und seine Brüder

Aber jedes Gefühl von Freiheit oder Freude – egal aus welcher Quelle: seinen Universitätskursen, seinen Freunden, seinen Versuchen, gut zu sein – jedes Gefühl von Freiheit und Freude könnte durch ein Telefongespräch schnell gelöscht werden.

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