Haruki Murakami Hard-boiled Wonderland and The End of the World
Quotes: p. 49: Evolution is always hard. Hard and bleak. No such thing as happy evolution. p.50: ...It seems to me a lot of trouble in this world has its origins in vague speach. Most people, when they go around not speaking clearly, somewhere in their uncouscious they're asking for trouble. p. 345: Bob Dylan's voice: ...'It's like a kid standing at the window watching the rain'. p.163: Russian classics
It would be interestesting to compare The End of Mr Y and this novel in terms of how they deal with understanding and exploring the possibilities of consciousness.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
ABOUT TOILET PAPER
When our British visitor opened his suitcase and took out a toilet roll we first thought it was a rather awkward present for the hostess - a more practical alternative to a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine. But no. It turned out that he simply brought it for himself because he knew that Czech toilet paper was far too rough and he couldn't possibly let his delicate British bottom suffer so much at the time of its well deserved holiday.
I placed the blue roll in the toilet, secretly apologised to our by all means satisfactory product already residing there....and at that moment I remembered something truly infernal, something that as far as toilet paper goes would definitely finish our lovely visitor off: small neat quadrangular packs comprising little pages folded in half and joined in an interlocking pattern. The texture of this sort of toilet paper was more of body destructive nature - hard and glossy. I never really understood how anybody managed to extract its bottom cleaning function from it. It simply was shit - not FOR shit.
At the dark times of toilet paper queues (There was a rumour that the toilet paper factory broke down and people started hoarding - the usual mass hysteria) ... so at these times this parody of toilet paper also appeared in our toilet. Desperate, I tried crumpling it and then smoothing it out again but even that failed to produce an absorbent surface and I was forced to employ alternatives such as cabbage leaves. Newspaper then wasn't suitable - the print ran too much. A simple visit to the toilet became a nightmare.
Luckily this didn't last very long and the good old roll returned to our shops to the great relief of all. However, this experience made me think with admiration of our ancestors who were commonly using the torture instrument and must have had some secret know how which obviously hasn't survived until today.
Nevertheless, since then the Czech toilet paper market has progressed and offers much better quality products. They can't, of course, compete with high British standards. Yet, we are heading in the right direction and I strongly believe that becoming members of the EU will move us one step further towards extra thick velvety pleasure.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
This is an interesting quote from 2666 by Roberto Bolano: "Emilio Garibay.....thougth it was precisly because he was an atheist that he didn't read anymore. Not reading , it might be said, was the highest expression of atheism or at least of atheism as he conceived of it. If you don't believe in God, how do you believe in a fucking book? he asked himself." (p. 550)
Saturday, July 18, 2009
A historical book?
I've just finished reading another book: Ethan Fromeby Edith Wharton. I wanted to read something by her after I heard Susanne Vega's song where she mentions the characters from Wharton's novels. Wharton is a turn of the century and the beginning of 20th centuryAmerican novelist. And some of her stories convey the "gothic" atmosphere of the end the 19th century ruralNew England. This one takes place in Massachusetts. I'm fascinated by books written at around that time because they are still comprehensible language-wise but they are already historical novels in a sense - that is I can learn from them about times past without the interfering interpretation of a historian. All I need is to consider and understand the literary convention of that time.
The story itself is a dark, passionate, tragic and chilling love story taking place in bleak living conditions. I see it as realism or naturalism. Compared with some other works about rural life from other cultures it seems similarly to convey the essence of the hard and cruel life of farming communities.
The book is an American classic. It is considered Wharton's best work and is probably analysed ad nauseam in literature classes. So this edition came with an introduction by Elaine Showalter where she analyses it through psychoanalysis. Female hysteria dominates the field, everything is a symbol to do with some freudian category, fertility, authority etc. I don't understand how Ethan Frome inspires interpretations like this. I guess in the second plan you can read whatever you want into it. But it is great literature and it exists first of all as a powerful, well plotted story where just a few dialogues and a few carefully drawn descriptions can pull the reader into the desolation of ruined lives, misery where a hint of romance turns into living hell without a chance of escape.
Both the frame and the main story take place in winter. In fact any important event always seems to happen in winter which in this northern latitude and in the country is a period of white near death. Everything is covered in layers of snow and people seem to turn into zombies. In the middle of this young Ethan is still very much alive and so is his secret love Mattie Silver. Their hearts are burning but their bodies and escape routes have frozen over. The only way out seems to be self-destruction. And tragically even that doesn't lead to freedom - quite the opposite. The unsuccessful suicide condemns them to spending decades together, only now they're both disabled and suffering even more than if they were apart. What strikes me as unusual is the absence of religion. Such hard life and nobody ever turns to God. When illnesses are discussed, it's always just from a practical point of view; there is no spiritual element to it. It's as if the people there already resigned on God. In a godforsaken land, beyond his reach. Or possibly it's just the age of technological progress. Even Ethan has been to university....
Friday, July 17, 2009
I think that 'SUM: Forty Tales from the Afterlives' by David Eagleman is interesting. I haven't read all of them yet but it is a good addition to my collection of images of eternity. The author is a neuroscientist - just the right background to inspire reflections about what lies behind our consciousness.
I admit this is a very neglected and badly managed blog. My excuse is having other 'more important' things to do when I switch the computer on such as choosing the best engine shed for a 3 year old boy, checking the weather forecast and my bank account, talking to my husband on ICQ or playing scrabble on Facebook. Still, if I actually write something I consider worth sharing with other people, it will definitely end up here.
Saturday, June 13, 2009