“Now I Was a Great Squid God” — A Weird Passage from Jonathan Littell’s Weird Novel, The Kindly Ones

I’ve been listening to  an audiobook of Jonathan Littell’s strange novel about an SS officer, The Kindly Ones, and this passage made me dig out my paperback copy in order to share the weirdness—

Finally I dozed off and had a strange, striking dream. Now I was a great Squid God, and I was ruling over a beautiful walled city of water and white stone. The center, especially, was all water, and tall buildings rose up all around. My city was peopled with humans who worshipped me. I had delegated part of my power and authority to one of them, my Servant. But one day I decided I wanted all these humans out of my city, at least for a while. The order went out, propagated by my Servant, and immediately droves of humans started fleeing out the gates of the city, to wait in hovels and shantytowns out in the desert beyond the walls. But they didn’t leave fast enough to my liking, and I began to thrash violently, churning back up the water of the center with my tentacles, then coiling them back and bearing down on swarms of terrible humans, lashing out and roaring with my terrible voice: Out! Out! Out!” My Servant ran frantically about, commanded, guided, prompted the sluggish, and in this way the city emptied out. But in the buildings closest to the walls and farthest from the water where I was giving vent to my divine rage, some groups of humans were not heeding my commands. These were foreigners, not really aware of my existence, of my power over this city. They had heard the evacuation orders, but thought them ridiculous and were ignoring them. My Servant had gone to see these groups one after another, to convince them diplomatically to leave: such as this conference of Finnish officers, who protested that they had rented teh hotel and conference room and paid in advance, and wouldn’t leave just like that. With them, my Servant had to lie skillfully, explaining for instance that there was an alert, a grave security problem, and that they had to evacuate for their own safety. I found this deeply humiliating, since the real reason was my Will; they were supposed to leave just because I wanted it, not because they were coaxed. My rage increased. I thrashed about and roared more violently than ever, sending great waves crashing through the city.

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