On two occasions, during the preparation of this piece, people stopped me in cafés, pointing to the stack of Krasznahorkai’s books on my table, expressing their enthusiasm for his bleak comedy and particular brand of absurdity. The conversations ended in starry-eyed camaraderie, akin to the sparks between thrill seekers who’ve both traversed Machu Picchu.
Max Frisch’s Montauk, packed with these dissolving moments, is one of a small handful of works toward which I feel proprietary, if not downright possessive. I alternately want to pass the book along to everyone I know and to keep it close like some private vice, though I’m not sure what underlies this latter impulse. It’s not as though I believe that a book can be leached or diminished by its enthusiasts. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll find out that my responses and identifications are not nearly as unique as I have imagined them to be.