i don't know why, she said

een aantal van de mooiste pagina's in Rachel CuskKudos vertellen over een zwarte kerk.

het is misschien handig om eerst te vermelden dat Kudos, net als Outline (Nederlands: Contouren) en Transit (de eerste twee delen van deze trilogie) een hoofdpersoon heeft die zelf weinig aanwezig is: Faye vertelt, maar wat ze vertelt is wat anderen háár hebben verteld. ze luistert, spreekt nauwelijks. ze houdt mensen net zo lang aan de praat tot er een (soms natuurlijk) einde wordt bereikt. Faye is de ontvanger. ik weet niet of ze dat erg vindt. er zit iets in haar luisteren dan veel geduld heeft en anderen misschien zelfs aanmoedigt: stuk voor stuk worden haar verhalen verteld die interessant, droevig, grappig zijn. misschien is het idee dat Faye straks met dat verhaal naar huis vliegt aantrekkelijk.

Faye reist in Kudos door Europa om haar nieuwe boek onder de aandacht te brengen. ze wandelt met haar uitgever Paola door de straten van een hete stad (waarschijnlijk Lissabon) als Paola beweert dat Europa stervende is; and because every separate part is being replaced as it does it becomes harder and harder to tell what is fake and what is real, so that we might not realize until the whole thing has gone. (p211)

en dan bedenkt Paola dat ze Faye iets wil laten zien: de zwarte kerk. Paola vertelt:

Some fifty years before, she said, the church had been ravaged one night by a terrible fire, whose intensity was such that the very stones had lifted and the leading of the windows melted away, and two of the firefighters had lost their lives putting it out. But instead of restoring the church, the decision was made simply to repair the structural aspects of the building, which continued to be used as a regular place of worship, despite the disturbing extremity of its appearance and the violent events to which that appearance testified.
    ‘Inside it is completely black,’ she said, ‘and the walls and ceiling are warped like the inside of a cave where the layers of stone have expanded, and the fire, even while it devoured whatever paintings and statues had been there, left everywhere a patina of its own in which one believes one can glimpse ghostly images. Everywhere there are these strange half-shapes like melted wax and then in other places sheared areas where the stonework was split into two by the heat, and empty plinths and alcoves where things are missing, and the texture of the whole thing is so densely affected that it is almost no longer manmade, as if the trauma of the fire had turned it into a natural form. I don't know why,’ she said, ‘but I find the sight of it extremely moving. The fact that it has been allowed to continue in its true state,’ she said, ‘when everything else around it has been replaced and cleaned up, has a meaning that I am not quite able to understand or articulate, and yet people continue to go there and act as if everything is normal. At first I thought that someone had made a terrible mistake,’ she said, ‘in letting it stay like that, as if they thought no one would notice what had happened, and when I saw people inside praying or hearing mass I thought it was indeed possible that somehow they hadn't realised. And this seemed so awful that I wanted to scream at everyone there and force them to look at the black walls and the emptiness. But then I noticed,’ she said, ‘that in certain places where statues had obviously been, new lights had been installed which illuminated the empty spaces. These lights,’ she said, ‘had the strange effect of making you see more in the empty space than you would have seen had it been filled with a statue. And so I knew,’ she said, ‘that this spectacle was not the result of some monstrous neglect or misunderstanding but was the work of an artist.’ (p211-213)

(als ze bij de kerk arriveren blijkt het te zijn gesloten.)

dus, verwoesting kan iets z'n natuurlijke vorm geven. en dat iets mag blijven bestaan zoals het geworden is. verwoesting of geweld of trauma hoeft niet onzichtbaar te zijn, uit het zicht genomen, of vernieuwd te worden.
of uitgelegd te worden.

Paola sprak eerder al over zichzelf. Paola en die kerk: binnenstebuiten.

inside it is completely black, she said
i don't know why, she said
the fact that it has been allowed to continue it its true state, she said
i wanted to scream at everyone there and force them to look at the black walls and the emptiness
but then i noticed, she said,

new lights
making you see more in the empty space

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