Open Letters Books

Joshua Cohen on Jakov Lind at Open Letter jumped right off the e-page at me as one of those things that readers of this site would/will LOVE if/when they found/find out about it.

The great Joshua Cohen wrote an introduction to Lind’s Landscape in Concrete, which Open Letter Books re-published last year. On the occasion of the third anniversary of Lind’s passing, also, OLB’s even more recent (ie this January) reissue of Lind’s Ergo, they have made JC’s introduction to Landscape available online. Here is paragraph one.

“Jakov Lind” was a pseudonym for a man without a name. According to the rolls of a host of long-since defunct regimes, “Lind” was once known as Jakov Chaklan, Palestinian Jew (this was back when you could be one of those), and before that he was Jan Gerrit Overbeek, Dutch bargehand, which was the Nazi-era identity of Heinz Landwirth, Viennese. The author of Landscape in Concrete—and also of the stories of Soul of Wood, the novel Ergo, two other novels, another collection of stories, an Israeli travelogue, three memoirs, numerous stage and radio plays, and occasional poetry—might have been all of these people, and he might have been none. This is not meant “deconstructively,” however, or in a spirit of relativism. What’s being asserted here, at the beginning, is trauma. Is not knowing what to call one’s self. Is not having a private name for one’s self.

Now that you’re interested, go read the rest.

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February 16th, 2010 / 5:05 pm