The girls sat perfectly still, the lamp smoked, the piece of material under the needle of the sewing machine had long since slipped to the floor, and the machine ran empty, stitching only the black, starless cloth unwinding from the bale of winter darkness outside the window.
This is the Schulz of the Cinnamon Shops…
I’m feeling a bit tragic about the reduction of my entirety to my sex, but even so! I am plotting the release of The Messiah from the KGB. The tragedy comes entirely because I love the book so damn much.
Two additional brief facts:
Did Mervyn Peake speak Polish? Doubtful, and if he did not, there could have been no connection between the two writers…I find that a bit uncanny actually. Published in Polish in 1934, it was not translated into French or German until sometime after its second Polish edition in 1957, and the English translation of The Street of Crocodiles did not happen until 1963. Titus Groan was published in 1946, Gormenghast in 1950, Titus Alone in 1959.
There is also the amazing story of his wall paintings, my beautiful friend C put me onto this. From this article in the New York Times, it appears Schulz was forced to decorate the nursery of the gestapo agent who liked his art so much. Discovered in 2001 by a documentary film maker, the very walls were stolen from the Ukraine (that little piece of Poland called Drogobych is now in the Ukraine) by Yad Vashem…well, I would call it stealing, but ‘preserved’ is how the alternate story goes.