The saber rattling and harsh rhetoric during the current nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula should remind mankind of something we have forgotten. Atomic weapons are terrifying things, and talk of using them should be a taboo subject.
A week or so ago, I found myself reading Agatha Christie’s 80th, and penultimate, book, “Passenger to Frankfurt,” and its relevance to today struck me. The book was published in 1970, with the subtitle “an extravaganza,” is an utter failure and was often characterized as an “incomprehensible muddle”; however, this “muddle” is not due to Christie’s old age or senility: instead, its causes are clearly political.
Passenger to Frankfurt is Christie’s most personal, intimately felt, and at the same time most political novel. It expresses her personal confusion, her feeling of being totally at a loss with what was going on in the world in the late 1960s – the drugs, the sexual revolution, student protests, murders, etc. So it’s no wonder that Passenger to Frankfurt is not a detective novel. There is no murder, no logic, and deduction. This feeling of the collapse of the elementary cognitive mapping, this overwhelming fear of chaos, is rendered precisely in Christie’s introduction to the novel:
“Hold up a mirror to 1970 in England. Look at that front page every day for a month, make notes, consider and classify. Every day there is a killing. A girl strangled. An elderly woman attacked and robbed of her meager savings. Young men or boys attacking or attacked. Buildings and telephone kiosks smashed and gutted. Drug smuggling. Robbery and assault. Children missing and children’s murdered bodies found not far from their homes. Can this be England? Is England really like this? Not yet, but it could be. Fear is awakening, a fear of what may be. And not only in our own country. There are smaller paragraphs on other pages giving news from Europe, from Asia, from the Americas, in Worldwide News. Hi-jacking of planes. Kidnapping. Violence. Riots. Hate. Anarchy. All growing stronger. All seeming to lead to worship of destruction, pleasure in cruelty. What does it all mean?”
So what does all this mean?
[Extract. Appeared in RT on September 11th 2017.]