Aliss at the fire by Fosse, Jon; Searls, Damion

By Fosse, Jon; Searls, Damion

In her outdated condominium by way of the fjord, Signe lies on a bench and sees a imaginative and prescient of herself as she used to be greater than two decades prior: status through the window looking forward to her husband Asle, on that poor overdue November day while he took his rowboat out onto the water and not back. Her stories widen out to incorporate their complete lifestyles jointly, and past: the bonds of relations and the battles with implacable nature stretching again over 5 generations, to Asle's great-great-grandmother Aliss. In Jon Fosse's bright, hallucinatory prose, these kind of moments in time inhabit an identical house, and the ghosts of the earlier collide with those that nonetheless continue to exist. "Aliss on the hearth" is a visionary masterpiece, a haunting exploration of affection and loss that ranks one of the maximum meditations on marriage and human destiny

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She thinks, why should anything be different? why would she think something like that? that anything could really be different? she thinks, because there he is standing in front of the window, almost impossible to separate from the darkness outside, but what has been wrong with him lately? has something happened? has he changed? why has he gotten so quiet? but, yes, quiet, yes, he was always a quiet type, she thinks, whatever else you can say about him he’s always been quiet, so that’s nothing out of the ordinary after all, it’s, it’s just how he is, that’s just the way he acts, that’s just how it is, she thinks, and now if only he could turn around and face her, just say something to her, she thinks, anything, just say anything, but he keeps standing there as if he never even noticed her come in There you are, Signe says and he turns to her and she sees that the darkness is also in his eyes I guess I am, yes, Asle says There’s not much to look at out there, Signe says No nothing, Asle says and he smiles at her No just darkness, Signe says Just darkness yes, Asle says Then what are you looking at, Signe says I don’t know what I’m looking at, Asle says But you’re standing there in front of the window, Signe says I am, Asle says But you’re not looking at anything, Signe says No, Asle says But why are you standing there then, Signe says Yes I mean, she says Yes are you thinking about something, she says I’m not thinking about anything, Asle says But what are you looking at, Signe says I’m not looking at anything, Asle says You don’t know, Signe says No, Asle says You’re just standing there, Signe says Yes I’m just standing here, Asle says Yes you are, Signe says Does it bother you, Asle says It’s not that, Signe says But why are you asking, Asle says I was just asking, Signe says Yes, Asle says I didn’t mean anything by it, I was just asking, Signe says Yes, Asle says I’m just standing here, yes, he says A lot of times when someone says something they don’t really mean anything by it, probably, he says Probably almost never, he says They just say something, just to say something, that’s true, Signe says That’s what it’s like, yes, Asle says They have to say something, Signe says They have to, Asle says That’s how it is, he says and she sees him stand there and sort of not entirely know what to do with himself and then he raises one hand and lowers it again and then he raises his other hand, holds it halfway in front of him, and then raises the first hand again What are you thinking about, Signe says No nothing special, Asle says No, Signe says I guess I, Asle says Yes I, he says and he stands there and he looks at her I, he says I, I, yes well, I’ll just, he says You, Signe says Yes, Asle says You’ll, Signe says I, Asle says I guess I’ll go out onto the fjord for a while, he says Today too, Signe says I think so, Asle says and he turns back to the window and again she sees him stand there and be almost impossible to separate from the darkness outside and again she sees his black hair in front of the window and she sees his sweater become one with the darkness outside Today too, Signe says and he doesn’t answer and today he’ll row out onto the fjord again, she thinks, but the wind is really blowing, and it probably won’t be long before it starts to rain, but does he care about that, whatever the weather is he goes out in his little boat, a small rowboat, a wooden boat, she thinks, and what’s so nice about rowing out on the fjord in a little boat like that?

He thinks, there in the middle of the fire he sees a bearded face and then the beard, it is gray and black both, starts to burn, and the long gray and black hair is also on fire and he sees staring eyes right in the middle of the fire and something in the eyes is as if sucked up by the flames and as if dispersed into the cold air as smoke and he sees eyes and he can’t see the faces, they aren’t faces, they’re just grimaces, and he can’t see the bodies, and then he sees the eyes sort of find a voice and what he hears is like a howl, first a howling from one eye and then a scattered howling from lots of eyes and then the huge howl becomes one with the flames rising up and it disappears into the darkness and the voices in the eyes rise up and are smoke that you can’t see and he keeps walking and now it’s so cold that he has to go home, he thinks, it’s too cold to stay out and even if their house is old it’s warm there in the room back home in the old house, he thinks, they have a good stove, and they have a fire in it, and the wood is wood he got himself, in the summer he chops wood and in the fall he saws up the wood to the proper length, splits it, stacks it so that it gets good and dry, he thinks, yes, they have wood, a good amount of wood, and it’s good and warm, and before he went out he put a log in the stove, he thinks, and now she’s probably put more wood in the stove, so that the fire wouldn’t burn out, of course she has, so that it’s warm enough and nice in the room at home in the old house, he thinks and he starts to walk up the little road back home to the old house and now he can’t stop and look back down at the shore, now he has to go home, and he can’t think again that he should go out onto the fjord for a while, it’s too cold, it’s dark, he can’t think that, he thinks and he stops and he turns around and looks back down at the shore and there’s still a fire, but it’s smaller now, it’s now just a little fire he sees burning down there on the shore, so is the fire already burned out, he thinks, or is that another fire?

And it must be the darkness, and the fact that he’s so cold, that makes him unable to tell exactly where the fire is burning, he thinks, but he sees it, he does see it, there in the darkness, those yellow and red flames. And it looks warm, it looks good, because it’s cold, yes, he thinks, it has gotten so cold that he has to keep walking, he can’t stay standing in one place, it’s too cold for that, he thinks and he starts to walk and he’s freezing and it is so cold that he tries to walk as fast as he can and he can barely remember the last time it was so cold in the fall, he thinks, it must have been back when he was young, because back then, or that’s how he remembers it at least, it was almost always cold and there was ice on the fjord and so much snow on the hills, on the streets, ice and snow and cold, but now, in recent years, fall has always been pretty mild, and then this year the cold set in again, he thinks, and he doesn’t have a cap to wear anymore, those old red knit caps with tassels from when he was a boy, you can’t find them anywhere anymore of course, and where did they go, and where do they come from anyway, caps like that?

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