Saturday, March 24, 2012

standing outside the ring of salvation

The War Criminal Rises and Speaks by Okkervil River on Grooveshark

What follows are the concluding sentences to the most sickening piece of fiction I have ever read:
We will be isolated in our agonies as the bundles are lit below us. We will be burned to cinders and our ashes scattered.
And God will come to know our secrets. At our immolation He'll appear to us and pour His gold out at our feet. And His grace that we kicked away will become like a tower on which we might stand. And His grace will raise us to such a height that we might glimpse the men we aspired to be. And His grace like the heat of the sun will burn away the men we have become.
I love that passage. I find it remarkable.

That being said, I don't mind sharing the last lines with you because I honestly do not feel that anyone should read that story. I recommend it to no one. When I finished the story a couple weeks back, it left me a puddle of horrified illness. It made some of the other awful things I've read seem sterile and weightless. Worst of all, the story, though fictionalized, remains substantially historical and true.

So was it worth it?--worth it to read that horrifying story for that beautiful ending? I don't know, but I believe that if those lines stick around after the details they follow fade, then the answer will be yes.