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An extract from the opening of the novel The Piano Teacher, as translated by
"The piano teacher, Erika Kohut, bursts like a whirlwind
into the apartment she shares with her mother.
calling Erika her little whirlwind, for the child can be an
absolute speed demon.
She is trying to escape her mother. Erika
is in her late thirties.
Her mother is old enough to be her
grandmother. The baby was born after long and difficult years of
Her father promptly left, passing the torch to his
daughter. Erika entered, her father exited. Eventually, Erika
learned how to move swiftly. She had to.
Now she bursts into the
apartment like a swarm of autumn leaves, hoping to get to her
room without being seen. But her mother looms before her,
She puts Erika against the wall, under
interrogation -- inquisitor and executioner in one, unanimously
recognized as Mother by the State and by the Family.
investigates: Why has Erika come home so late? Erika dismissed
her last student three hours ago, after heaping him with scorn.
You must think I won't find out where you've been, Erika.
A child should own up to her mother without being asked. But
Mother never believes her because Erika tends to lie. Mother is
waiting. She starts counting to three."