By Heinrich Böll
Böll's famous competition to fascism and warfare informs this relocating tale of a unmarried day within the lifetime of traumatized soldier Robert Faehmel, scion of a kinfolk of profitable Cologne architects, as he struggles to come back to bland existence after the second one global struggle. An come across with a war-time nemesis, now an influence within the reconstruction of Germany, forces him to confront inner most stories and the injuries of Germany's defeat within the international Wars.
Translated by way of Patrick Bowles
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Extra resources for Billiards at Half-Past Nine
Já andam os lavradores lavrando, vão para o campo mesmo debaixo de chuva, a leiva cresce da terra húmida como saem as crianças lá donde vêm, e, não sabendo gritar como elas, suspira ao sentir-se rasgada pelo ferro, e deita-se de lado, luzidia, oferecendo-se à água que continua a cair, agora muito devagar, quase poalha impalpável, para que não se perca a forma do alqueive, terra encrespada para o conchego da seara. Este parto é muito simples, mas não se pode fazer sem aquilo que os outros primeiro requereram, a força e a semente.
Dão, se calha, estas e outras notícias a D. Maria Ana, mas ela está flutuando, indiferente, no seu torpor de grávida, dizerem-lhas ou calarem-lhas tanto faz, e até da sua primeira glória de ter fecundado não resta mais que uma ténue lembrança, pequena brisa do que foi vento de orgulho, quando nos primeiros tempos se sentia como aquelas figuras que à proa das naus se põem e que, não sendo as que mais longe observam, para isso lá está o óculo e lá está o gajeiro, são as que mais fundo vêem. Uma mulher grávida, rainha ou comum, tem um momento na vida em que se sente sábia de todo o saber, ainda que intraduzível em palavras, mas depois, com o inchar excessivo da barriga e outras misérias do corpo, só para o dia de parir têm pensamentos, nem todos alegres, quantas vezes aterradas por agoiros, mas neste caso vai ser de grande ajuda a ordem franciscana, que não 42 quer perder o prometido convento.
Mas, sobretudo, porque um infante macho daria maior contentamento a el-rei. D. João V vai ter de contentar-se com uma menina. Nem sempre se pode ter tudo, quantas vezes pedindo isto se alcança aquilo, que esse é o mistério das orações, lançamo-las ao ar com uma intenção que é nossa, mas elas escolhem o seu próprio caminho, às vezes atrasam-se para deixar passar outras que tinham par tido depois, e não é raro que algumas se acasalem, assim nascendo orações arraçadas ou mestiças, que não são nem o pai nem a mãe que tiveram, quando calha brigam, param na estrada a debater contradições, e por isso é que se pediu um rapaz e veio uma rapariga, vá lá saudável e robusta, e de bons pulmões, como se percebe pela gritaria.