Bullet in the Brain
The main character in Bullet in the Brain is a middle-aged book critic, who is especially “known for the weary elegant savagery with which he dispatched almost everything he reviewed” (1, L 5). You might even call him a grumpy old man, because basically that is what he is – but more about that subject later on. The story takes off when Anders enters the bank just before it closes, and therefore the line is endlessly long, which puts him in a bad temper. “He was never in the best of tempers anyways, Anders”(1, L 4), but it certainly does not help when the two women in front of him start complaining about one the bank tellers leaving her position. Anders “conceive his towering hatred of the teller” (1, L 15), and instead he turns his frustrations towards the “cry-baby” in front of him and sarcastically utter “Tragic, really. If they’re not chopping off the wrong leg, or bombing your ancestral village, they’re closing their positions” (1, L 17-19). Obviously Anders is not the most likable person ever, and even though it is hard for ordinary people to get along with him, it is even harder for bank robbers to do so, which becomes crystal clear when two of these lowlifes suddenly make an appearance in the bank. Usually bank robbery is not exactly a desirable scenario to be present at, but nonetheless seems strangely amused by the situation, especially when one of the bank robbers says “one of you tellers hits the alarm, you’re all dead meat. Got it?” (2, L 33) Anders, taking special notice of the phrase “dead meat”, cannot help himself from uttering “Great script, eh? The stern, brass-knuckled poetry of the dangerous classes” (2, L 36-37) to the whiny woman from before, as if he has been possessed by the evil demon of book criticism and that starts analyzing everything. At this point of the short story it is becomes frightening visible that Anders has totally lost his sense of reality, and either he has a strong death wish or does not understand...
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