Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Transposed Heads / The Black Swan

I found this book at Eljay's, when I was looking for a copy of The Magic Mountain. I have it as a goal to read at least one book by each of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Anyway, I found this book instead, which is a peculiar combination of two of Thomas Mann's lesser known stories. And how could I say no to "The Transposed Heads"?

The Transposed Heads is a story we've all heard before. A jock and a nerd are good friends, and the nerd falls in love with a beautiful girl. The jock helps him win her, and the nerd and the beauty are married. But she secretly lusts after the jock friend. Anyway, blah blah blah, the nerd and the jock each commit suicide by cutting off their own heads with a sword. Not each other's heads, their own heads. I'm not even sure how you do that. Long story short, the girl brings them back to life with the help of Kali, but "accidentally" switches the heads on the bodies. This leaves the three with a curious question -- who is she married to? The nerd head with the jock body, or the jock head, with the nerd body (the nerd body is the father of the child she carries, of course). Anyway, I'm sure you can imagine how it ends up. Where he gets off writing this ridiculous story I do not know. I mean, honestly... A jock and nerd being friends??

The Black Swan is both beautiful and disturbing, and honestly, I can't decide how I feel about it. I think it will haunt me for some time.

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