Michelle Bailat-Jones

Writer, Translator, Reader

Two passages from Anna Kavan’s story, “Glorious Boys” from her collection I am Lazarus, published in 1945:

What a fiendishly efficient machine war is, she thought, remembering him as he was and the writing, a bit immature but sensitive and with much integrity. Now he would never write the things he might have written when he had learned to write well enough. It destroyed very thoroughly this war machine, this incinerator of individuality and talent and life, forging the sensitive and creative young into the steel fabric of death, turning the out by the million, the murder men, members of Murder Inc., the big firm, the global organization. Suddenly, she felt acutely angry with him.

And later:

Of course it’s lunacy: we’ve all of us gone insane, she said to herself, thinking of the planes streaming out, crossing the incoming enemy stream up there in the freezing sky. Did they signal like passing ships or just ignore one another? The demented human race destroying itself with no god or external sanity intervening. Well, let them get on with it. Let it be over soon. She was very tired of the war-world and only wanted everything to be over. It seemed not to matter anymore what happened. There had been far too much happen already. Queer how tired apprehending a war made you. The war had always been there in the different countries, but it had taken London to bring her the apprehension of war. This can’t go on, she thought sometimes, waking suddenly in the night or moving about a room: this can not go on. But it went on and on and she went on somehow, only feeling always more and more tired.

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