Vojin Killing Auntie is narrated by Jurek, an orphaned twenty-one-year-old university student or, as he puts it: Now he has to deal with disposing of the corpse, which is more difficult than he imagined. After his doting aunt asks him to perform a small chore, he decides to kill her for no good reason other than, perhaps, boredom. This is a short comedic masterpiece combining elements of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Jean-Paul Sartre, Franz Kafka, and Joseph Heller, coming together in the end to produce an unforgettable tale of murder and—just maybe—redemption. Want to Read saving….
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Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. Killing Auntie is narrated by Jurek, an orphaned twenty-one-year-old university student or, as he puts it: "a twenty-one-year-old loafer" who lives with his aunt. An impulsive one, too, its seems -- and so, one morning, after Auntie asks him to hammer a nail in the wall he gives her two good whacks with it as well.
The result is unsurprising: "There was no doubt Auntie was a corpse". No doubt, too, the murder is very much a symbolic one how much so only eventually becomes clear -- but that still leaves a corpse to dispose of.
Which turns out to be a much bigger problem than Jurek had anticipated not that he had really thought this through, of course. Or rather the motive is simple action of some sort, a flailing for purpose. But, as he also comes to realize, it also gives him that sought-after sense of purpose: I realized with absolute clarity that the only real thing was the corpse, at once a millstone around my neck and my lifeline.
Jurek does tread somewhat cautiously, but he also draws an awful lot of attention to himself and to the corpse. But, for various reasons, no one seems able to make the necessary connection and figure out what he is storing in the bathtub and trying to burn in the oven, and mailing by parcel post Much of the fun of the novel is found in the grotesque premise of Jurek trying to dispose of the body and the pieces of the body.
From his efforts at dismemberment to his efforts at disposal -- which includes trying to mail away some of the pieces -- his deadpan account is gruesomely hilarious, as repeatedly he has to acknowledge: Once again it crossed my mind that the annihilation of the corpse was harder than might generally be believed, that the struggle was tough and the adversary brave.
Jurek meets a girl, too -- "I allowed Teresa to take over all my thoughts and imagination" -- which is very satisfying, but also a complication. In many respects, his tale is one of a typical youth -- except, you know, that he killed someone He treats the corpse figuratively -- which can sometimes be hard to see as he works away at making it more easily disposable.
A nicely off-beat little novel. Orthofer, 7 August
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