A review of
by Witold Gombrowicz
Cosmos is the final book by Polish Modernist Witold Gombrowicz. Written in 1968, it arrives now for the first time in English, as nasty as the day it was born. Cosmos is a vicious and uncompromised little gem of the obscene.
A summary of this oddly plotted book might go like this: a desperate man named Witold—the narrator—meets another unhappy man named Fuks in the woods, where they find a dead bird hanging from a string. Later, they share a room at a family-run hotel, whose owners are as indolent as anyone in Chekhov, and who include a sexy maid named Katasia, and another sexy woman named Lena, though Witold either can’t or won’t distinguish them. At one point, Fuks and Witold break into Katasia’s room, and, on finding it empty, they accidentally leave behind a boxed frog. Soon, Witold kills the family cat and hangs it from a tree. Everyone seems headed toward a giant, if oblique, domestic showdown—and yet, somehow, nothing happens.
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