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Perlmann's Silence

by Pascal Mercier

Professor Perlmann is a broken man protected by his illustrious reputation. Unable to bare the prospect of his academic competitors discovering his predicament, Perlmann turns to increasingly desperate measures to guard his privacy. Measures with potentially murderous consequences. A demanding read which has been called 'unashamedly challenging', especially witnessing Perlmann's tortuous disintegration. A big book packed with deep ideas.

Extract

That was seven years ago now. And throughout all that time he hadn't thought once about that cancelled lecture. In the nights leading up to his capitulation he had for the first time the very same experience that had paralysed and frozen him for weeks: the experience of having absolutely nothing to say. It had been such a shock, this sudden experience, that he had had to banish it from his mind. And in that he had been very successful, because he had gone on to write dozens of lectures which had flowed easily and naturally from his pen. And throughout all that time not a single trace of a memory of that failure had crossed his path. Until today, from which perspective that late-March evening appeared as the first, menacing premonition of his present catastrophe.
Translated by Shaun Whiteside

Parallels

The Enigma of Arrival by V S Naipaul
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
 

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