Thursday, October 30, 2008

the buddhist

I mentioned how I was working on two new stories by Dorthe Nors. One of them is called The Buddhist. The first paragraph here provides a good idea of where we're at: it's an acerbic, stingingly caustic portrait of a man on his way over the brink, oblivious of everything but his own transcendence. As for the Citroën Berlingo, I think I can reveal that it plays a central role in the man's nemesis. It should be noted, however, that this work of fiction is of course in no way intended to characterise all Berlingo owners. Me, for example.

Before the Buddhist became president of the aid organisation People to People he was an ordinary Christian and a government official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was he who wrote the Foreign Minister’s speeches and thereby put words into the Foreign Minister’s mouth. It was a way of lying and at first it didn’t bother him any. Then it started bugging him because he found out he was a Buddhist. It didn’t just come to him all of a sudden that he was a Buddhist. The Buddhist as an idea more like crept up and settled in him shortly after his wife said she wanted a divorce. The Buddhist came in to him and sat down at the opposite side of his desk in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He contemplated the Buddhist and thought it was a good format to step into. Buddhists are good people. They’re deeper than most. Buddhists can see connections no-one else can. These were all qualities he recognised in himself, but which all could be improved upon, and so he became a Buddhist. If he hadn’t become a Buddhist, the divorce would have hurt that much more, but a Buddhist gains insight through pain. The more it hurts, the wiser the Buddhist becomes, the government official thought and stopped being a Lutheran.

© Dorthe Nors, 2008
Translation © Martin Aitken, 2008

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