The Will to Sickness by Gerhard Roth
Annotation by S. D. Stewart
His urbane brain cut the most magnificent capers, as, chloroformed by fatigue, it directed its incoming perceptions along the most absurd paths and enjoyed the utter senselessness of its associations.
Hyper-consciousness of everything around, of everything inside, beneath the skin (organs, fluids, all sloshing together), tenuous connections with the outside world beyond the incessant observations and processing of said observations. Precise descriptions of the visceral appearance of bodies, preventing true/real connection, microscopic focus on parts not whole. Immaculate control of language, cinematic feel of the prose, like watching not reading Kalb and his (dis)orientation with the world around him, his desire/inability to sustain connection. Sickness as (un)conscious justification for symptomatic over-perception, this awareness both stimulating and stifling.
Kalb leaned back in his chair. He felt his shoulder-bones. The menu was laid before him. But Kalb had no money. The waiter’s sleeve brushed his hand. Kalb was on his own. His observations accumulated. The waiter’s suit was black. The determinacy of appearances and processes hovered threateningly, waiting to be recognized. He was silent. The words grew like ulcers in his head. At last he seized his opportunity to disappear inconspicuously.