Fork in the road
4 days ago
I've flown around the world in a planeSo, how, exactly, am I supposed to take my dissertation and turn it into a book manuscript? How does one invent a book prospectus? What the hell am I supposed to say and do?
I've settled revolutions in Spain...
Rubashov...had learned that every known physical pain was bearable; if one knew beforehand exactly what was going to happen to one, one stood it as a surgical operation -- for instance, the extraction of a tooth. Really bad was only the unknown, which gave one no chance to foresee one's reactions and no scale to calculate one's capacity of resistance. And the worst was the fear that one would then do or say something which could not be recalled.Not that I ever doubted this fact, but re-reading these passages certainly reiterates for me the reality that I would not cope well under torture. Note to self: don't get arrested for political crimes.
The night was even worse. Rubashov could not sleep until dawn. Shivers ran over him at regular intervals; his tooth was throbbing. He had the sensation that all the association centres of his brain were sore and inflamed; yet he lay under the painful compulsion to conjure up pictures and voices.
"There it is!" said the doctor. "The root of the right eye-tooth is broken and has remained in the jaw."
Rubashov breathed deeply several times. The pain was throbbing from his jaw to his eye and right to the back of his head. He felt each pulsation of the blood singly, at regular intervals. The doctor had sat down again and spread out his newspaper. "If you like I can extract the root for you," he said and took a mouthful of bread and dripping. "We have, of course, no anaesthetics here. The operation takes anything from half an hour to an hour."
Rubashov heard the doctor's voice through a mist. He leant against the wall and breathed deeply. "Thank you," he said. "Not now." He thought of Hare-lip and the "steambath" and of the ridiculous gesture yesterday, when he had stubbed out the cigarette on the back of his hand. Things will go badly, he thought.
(pp. 41, 60, 62-63)