“The Dissection”

And, with this, I’m finally current with weird fiction discussions over at LibraryThing.

Review: “The Dissection”, George Heym, trans. Gio Clairval, 1913. 

This is a very short story, a bit over a page long. 

It is, as the VanderMeers note, more of a prose poem, an evocative and precise description of an autopsy. 

As the hammers start on the protagonist’s skull, we get a vision of a “fragrant summer evening” and of the woman he loved. 

The man speaks to her: “I will see you again every evening in the hour of dawn.  We will never part”. 

And then we get

And the dead man quivered in happiness on his white death table, while the iron chisels in the hands of the doctors broke up the bones of his temple. 

That alludes to the body, in Christianity, being the temple of God.

Is Heym cynically mocking earthly pretensions of eternal love or is the man returning to a dead lover or somehow viewing her post mortem? 

I’m not really sure I would call this a weird story and suspect it’s in the anthology more because Thomas Ligotti speaks highly of it and the editors’ fondness for foreign language material in their anthologies than any weird quality. 

Still, it’s evocative and doesn’t wear out its welcome.

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