Thorn Bush (Wenckheim II)

… and then the thorn and the acacia bushes and a thousand kinds of weeds grew over them, and the Thorn Bush came into being — that’s what the residents of the city called it — as if it were some kind of proper neighborhood or something, …

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The first chapter of László Krasznahorkai’s novel Wenckheim takes place in Thorn Bush, a derelict district, where the Professor has taken residence, amidst huge piles of styrofoam panels, … that if anyone should come along and pester him, let all and sundry be warned that whomever dared to approach his hut in the Thorn Bush would be shot immediately and without warning.

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This chapter is about rejection — the city rejects one of its districts, the Professor reality, his daughter him as her father.

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… but even then its reputation was enhanced not by the spice of juicy murders or sexual violence, but rather by being a no-man’s-land in the city, completely left to its own fate, an ownerless piece of land, needed by no one, and about which no one even debated who might need it and how it might be used; it was, accordingly, completely left to itself, …

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Places like this give an opportunity for isolation, but the Professors needs go further:

…the basic problem with a window wasn’t a question of this or that practical advantage or disadvantage, but it was the principle of the window that troubled him greatly, and namely not because a window could be gazed into, but because that window could always be gazed out of — …

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In the book, this leads to violent escalation, maybe because nobody truly can lock oneself in.

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Has every city its own Thorn Bush, has everybody a place of self-abandonment?

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The pictures here are from my city, taken 10 years ago, near a defunct railroad line that had been converted into a trail. Since then this area has changed, but this is another story.

 

 

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