Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Timeless Truths in Fiction

He offered the honest terms that a sound concern and an honest man had to offer. But that was not what people wanted nowadays. They wanted their hypothetical arrangements, their wild rumors, their manipulated booms with nothing behind it all but hot air....He could see them now at that very moment--all these many-colored and frivolous articles of fashion which captivated the world on the persons of equally frivolous young girls.
How fresh and contemporary, eh? This is from the 1931 edition of GRAND HOTEL by Vicki Baum, published in Germany in 1929 as MENSCHEN IM HOTEL ("People in a Hotel"). There's one thing that's dated, though: the casual use of n*gger in the narrative. Blech.

Oh, and Greta Garbo's famous line, "I want to be alone," was lifted right from the book.

1 comment:

albert said...

It's interesting how books written decades ago continue to speak to us today. Brings to mind The Catcher in the Rye. It was a required reading for us in high school, and it astounds me how every boy my age then who read the book could say that he could relate with Holden Caulfield. I guess this is what makes books like these timeless.