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Où roules-tu, petite pomme ? por Leo…
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Où roules-tu, petite pomme ? (original 1928; edição 1992)

por Leo Perutz, Jean-Claude Capèle

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1182178,360 (3.97)6
Vittorin, a young Austrian officer, has just been released from a Russian POW camp toward the end of the Great War. In Vienna his family, his girlfriend, and his old job await him, but Vittorin can't think of settling down until he has settled the score with the sadistic camp commander, Staff Captain Selyukov. Private obsession and political turmoil mix as Perutz leads his hero on a manhunt into the thick of the Russian civil war. In and out of prison, starving in the gutters of Moscow, thrown into revolutionary battle, Vittorin pursues his elusive quarry across postwar Europe. At each turn, he encounters only Fate's joker, until, back in Vienna, Fate plays him the biggest joke of all.… (mais)
Membro:DelphineM
Título:Où roules-tu, petite pomme ?
Autores:Leo Perutz
Outros autores:Jean-Claude Capèle
Informação:Le Livre de Poche (1992), Poche, 246 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Little Apple por Leo Perutz (1928)

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Georg Vittorin, an Austrian returning from a Russian POW camp, is burning with a murderous obsession. He and several other POWs agree that all will finance the return of one to kill the brutal camp commandant, Selyukov. However, when Vittorin returns to Vienna, his fellow POWs forget about vengeance and he is distracted by family affairs and his childhood sweetheart. When he finally goes alone to Russia, he gets sidetracked, stumbles into war zones, is mistaken for an agent provocateur, fights for and against the Bolsheviks and always seems to just miss Selyukov.

Vittorin’s obsession appears out of proportion to Selyukov’s actions. All the men agree that he was responsible for the death of another soldier, but in private, Vittorin furiously plays in his head a scene where Selyukov dismissively insulted him. At first, it seems that Vittorin will succumb to the love of his girlfriend, the needs of his family, and his comfortable life in Vienna like the other POWs. This would not be unexpected – as one POW remarks, the hatred kept them going and made them feel just and separate from their captors in the camp, but it is no longer necessary at home. Vittorin, having a personal reason to hate Selyukov, keeps his rage longer but it too would have gradually faded. However, characters and events conspire to send him to Russia. The section in Vienna did seem a little long but is necessary in the end.

After starting his revenge quest, Vittorin meets a number of characters, many of whom help him, and most of whom have bad luck with him. Bent on obsession, Vittorin forgets them and quickly moves on. He always imagines Selyukov, powerful, sadistic and living a good life, almost as a torture to his own unpleasant circumstances. In time, Selyukov starts to take on the appearance of whoever happens to be his current enemy. He fights for and befriends White Russians and Bolsheviks. One of the best parts of the book is the confused, messy setting of revolutionary Russia. Selyukov comes to represent every feared soldier or hated person he hears about. Vittorin mistakenly acts in some circumstances, deluded by hatred, which causes death and destruction but he keeps rolling on – much like the apple in the marching song that gives the book its title. What does Selyukov represent? Certainly an exaggerated version of the enemy in war – emphasized by Vittorin being on both sides. Also the personification of evil, where the object loses almost any connection to reality and is more about the person doing the hating. And the kind of goal that has been with one for so long it no longer inspires passion but can’t be forgotten – something that can dictate a life without much reflection, which could really be almost anything. More than Selyukov, though, Vittorin becomes an unpleasant and carelessly cruel person through his obsession – he abandons his family, women he loves, his fellow soldiers in war, those who helped him on his way.

This book is perhaps a bit of a departure from Perutz’s usual historical fiction with twisty, circular plots and issues of identity and fate. It takes place in the near-past for Perutz (though there are a couple others that do also) and seems a straightforward tale of repeatedly denied revenge. It’s a bit puzzling as there is plenty of violence and death but somehow, it’s handled with a light touch and the end is ironic but not horribly unhappy. The end is neatly tied up and some earlier issues – where perhaps one wonders why he was spending so much time on them initially – come back to wrap up the conclusion. Some of the themes – of an obsession that destroys a person and the relative importance of the journey versus the goal – are old ones but Perutz gives them slight twists. The obsession dominates Vittorin’s life but in the end doesn’t destroy him even if it makes some things in his life worse. Even war and death are things that he moves on from – as is the usual reaction where there’s violence and unhappiness, but the world continues. Often, the message in novels is that the journey is more important than the goal but here Perutz questions if either was that important. His usual idea of fate follows Vittorin around, spurring him on but keeping him alive and throwing a number of ironies in his path. This is certainly an odd book – as part of Perutz’s oeuvre and in general – but in this case that is a compliment. ( )
2 vote DieFledermaus | Dec 20, 2012 |
Hoofdpersoon van dit verhaal is Georg Vittorin, een Oostenrijker die na de eerste wereldoorlog terugkeert uit Russische krijgsgevangenschap. Hij is zodanig geobsedeerd door de gedachte aan wraak op de commandant van het kamp waar hij heeft vastgezeten, dat hij de draad van het normale leven niet kan oppakken en op zoek gaat naar de man die hem vernederd heeft, uitmondend in een dolle achtervolging door half Europa.

Misschien niet de beste Perutz (‘Der Marques de Bolibar’ en’ Der Meister des Jüngsten Tages’ zijn favoriet), maar zoals altijd meer dan de moeite waard. Een merkwaardig figuur trouwens, Leo Perutz. Joods, geboren in Praag, schrijvend in het Duits en één van de grote literaire namen in de jaren twintig en dertig van de vorige eeuw. Zijn romans waren bestsellers, soms verschijnend als feuilleton in de populaire weekbladen van die tijd. Na de oorlog echter werd hij vergeten, tot zijn herontdekking zo’n tien jaar geleden, wat leidde tot een nieuwe uitgave van zijn boeken door DTV.

Over het werk van Perutz is ooit gezegd dat het een combinatie is tussen Agatha Christie en Franz Kafka. Leuk gevonden, dat wel, maar uiteindelijk doet het de man onrecht. Het is een heel eigen stem die klinkt in zijn strak gecomponeerde verhalen, vol dubbele bodems en wisselingen van vertelperspectief. Hij schrijft toegankelijke avonturenromans, die ook de literaire fijnproever iets te bieden hebben. Vergeet dus ‘The Da Vinci Code’ en andere moderne brol: lees Perutz! ( )
3 vote BartGr. | Nov 30, 2008 |
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Where are you rolling, little apple . . .

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Vittorin, a young Austrian officer, has just been released from a Russian POW camp toward the end of the Great War. In Vienna his family, his girlfriend, and his old job await him, but Vittorin can't think of settling down until he has settled the score with the sadistic camp commander, Staff Captain Selyukov. Private obsession and political turmoil mix as Perutz leads his hero on a manhunt into the thick of the Russian civil war. In and out of prison, starving in the gutters of Moscow, thrown into revolutionary battle, Vittorin pursues his elusive quarry across postwar Europe. At each turn, he encounters only Fate's joker, until, back in Vienna, Fate plays him the biggest joke of all.

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