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Monday, January 22, 2007

A Reading Diary

Alberto Manguel's book is fascinating. I was surprised right away when he cites that he began his year-long reading list by re-reading Adolfo Bioy Casares' "The Invention of Morel," a novella I read when I was an undergraduate. He describes the story well, although I suspect he doesn't really want to summarize the story itself. "The Invention of Morel" is a story about a man who comes to an island in the Caribbean only to find that the island is full of images of people. You see, there's a machine which reproduces images over and over again. Bioy Casares' story is along the lines of Jorge Luis Borges "Ficciones." In fact, Bioy Casares and Borges were close friends, and together they defined the Latin American literary boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Alberto Manguel's mentioning of this story really took me back to the summer of 1994 when I read "The Invention of Morel" for the first time. It was summer and I was living in Japan then. I was a young reader; that is to say, I began my reading career rather late. It is for this reason that the mentioning of "The Invention of Morel" in Manguel's book means so much to me. Manguel is an experienced reader (and writer) and his observations are magnificent. For example, he very subtly compares the story of Morel with the financial crisis that Argentina (he is from Argentina) suffered in the early 2000s. He saw Buenos Aires as inhabited by ghosts, just like the images the narrator sees on the island. I think this is done very cleverly and Manguel pulls it off without seemingly wanting to. Here's a quote from the book that moved me: "Perhaps, in order for a book to attract us, it must establish between our experience and that of the fiction--between the two imaginations, ours and that on the page--a link of coincidences." Ever read a book thinking you have gone through a similar experience? For as much as I disliked "Run Between the Raindrops" I have to say that all the grunt speak, etc. really got to me. I love the idea of having my experience linked intricately to a book. I can think of no better companion, really. Manguel also writes about the link of word on the page and image in the mind. I am fascinated by this book. I will pace myself so as not to read too fast. I want to write at length about this.

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1 Comments:

At 5:59 AM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...

How much I enjoy your posts, JCR.
Your words appear to put new breath of life into the quiet passion that becomes reading.
All at once, forgotten charms are endless.

For as much as I disliked "Run Between the Raindrops" I have to say that all the grunt speak, etc. really got to me. I love the idea of having my experience linked intricately to a book. I can think of no better companion, really.

And the above lines you wrote which displays your fair-mindedness. I'll always trust your opinions now, though they may clash with mine.:-)

 

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