Sunny September

They were sitting in the shady front garden of the little inn; their horses were in the yard behind with the groom. From the rustling of the leaves above them one could tell that it was September. For it was no longer the clear, soft purling of spring leafage, nor yet the full note of summer: in summer the trees simply rustle without much variation, but in the early days of autumn a sharper, silvery metallic tone is already perceptible, as if the broad harmony in the flowing sap were breaking up. When autumn begins the midday hours are quite motionless; the sun still shines with summer warmth, and when a lighter, cooler breeze comes wandering through the branches there is, as it were, a streak of spring in the air. The leaves that drop from the trees on to the rough inn table are not yet yellowed, but dry and brittle for all their greenness, and the summer-like sunshine seems then doubly precious. With its bow pointing upstream the fisherman’s boat lies in the channel; the water glides past smoothly, as if moving in broad planes. These autumn days have none of the drowsiness of summer noons; a soft and watchful serenity lies over everything.

That’s from the first part of ‘The Sleepwalkers’ by Hermann Broch, which I’m in 340 pages deep. I decided to read it after reading all of Milan Kundera’a novels and a few of his essays, where I found it recommended as one of the greatest European novels. I’ve got another 200 or so pages to make up my mind.


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