The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke A new translation by Robert Villain published by Oxford Classics is the only novel written by the estimated poet born in Prague on Dec 4 1875.
It's a fictional character this one of Malte Laurids Brigge although certain parts of the life of Rilke seems to resonate in various passages.
The story reconstructs the years spent by Malte in Denmark, although the book has been written by the fictional character in Paris, reconnecting fragments of an existence.
You mustn't imagine a novel projected "outside" with romantic descriptions of the french capital.
This one is a novel lived "inside"; substantially the protagonist could have lived also in a complete different location.
Rilke with this novel wants to let us see the intimist portrait of a life with its sufferance, departures, joyous moments.
It's the legacy sometimes I thought of a character who wants to leave at the posterity his thoughts regarding life, love, death, illness, phantoms, ghosts, poetry, books and much more because as adds the protagonist:
"...The memories themselves aren't what really matters. Only when they become part of our blood, every glance and gesture, nameless and no longer distinguishable from our very selves, only then can it happen that, in one of those rarest hours, the first word of a line of verse arises in their midst and emanates from them."
In a passage of the book the mother of the protagonist will say:
"Our lives passes so quickly and it seems to me that we're also distracted and preoccupied and don't pay proper attention when we pass on. As if a shooting star fell without being seen by anyone and no one made a wish. Never forget to make a wish...You should never give up wishing. I believe there is no such thing as fulfillment, but there are wishes, and they go on lasting, your whole lifetime, so that you couldn't wait long enough for them to be fulfilled even if you wanted to."
Malte and his ego with its intimacy, his personal memories, events and what remained of his existence the centrality of the book, giving a perspective of the beauty and dramaticity of a life with its contradictions, beauty and horrors.
This one is a translation, wonderful for fluidity and beauty.
I thank Oxford University Press for this book.
Anna Maria Polidori