A Burnt-Out Case (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
Querry, a world-famous architect, is the victim of a terrible attack of indifference: he no longer finds meaning in art or pleasure in life. Arriving anonymously at a Congo leper village, he is diagnosed as the mental equivalent of a "burnt-out case", a leper who has gone through a stage of mutilation. However, as Querry loses himself in work for the lepers his disease of mind slowly approaches a cure. Then the white community finds out who Querry is...
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pewter, except where the wheel churned the wake to chocolate, and the green reflection of the woods was not mirrored on the surface but seemed to shine up from underneath the paper-thin transparent pewter. Two men who stood in a pirogue had their legs extended by their shadows so that they appeared to be wading knee-deep in the water. The passenger said, ‘Look, father, over there. Doesn’t that suggest to you an explanation of how Christ was thought to be walking on the water?’ but the captain,
‘It’s my job to want him,’ Parkinson said. He groaned again. ‘It’s no bloody picnic this. You wouldn’t lie to me, would you, about the doctor? And what he said?’ ‘No.’ ‘It’s my heart, as I told you. Two stone in a week. This too too solid flesh is surely melting. Shall I tell you a secret? The daredevil Parkinson is sometimes damned afraid of death.’ ‘Who are you?’ Querry asked. The man turned his face away with irritable indifference and closed his eyes. Soon he was asleep again. He was
you can read it in the dark. The trouble will start at eight o’clock. At eleven o’clock you will feel worse. Don’t struggle. If we tie your hands you will struggle. Just look at the clock. At one you will feel very bad, but then it will begin to pass. At three you will feel no worse than you do now, and after that less and less – the madness will go. Just look at the clock and remember what I say. Will you do that?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Before dark I will bring you the clock.’ ‘My child . . .’ ‘Don’t
that way she might induce him to spare her further pain. She had made up her mouth with a mauve lipstick which went badly with the black skin, and her right breast was exposed, for she had been feeding her baby on the dispensary step. Her arm was scarred for half its length where the doctor had made an incision to release the ulnar nerve which had been strangled by its sheath. Now the girl was able with an effort to move her fingers a further degree. The doctor wrote on her card, for the sisters’
there’s nothing of interest in my case. I have retired, that’s all. If the fathers don’t want me here, I can always go on.’ ‘You’ve said it yourself – the boat goes no farther.’ ‘There’s the road.’ ‘Yes. In one direction. The way you came. It’s not often open though. This is the season of rains.’ ‘There are always my feet,’ Querry said. Colin looked for a smile, but there was none on Querry’s face. He said, ‘If you really want to help me and you don’t mind a rough journey you might take the