Reading On

What I’m reading:

First priority goes to one of the most extraordinary books I’ve ever read, and it’s the recently released Disciple of the Dog by Scott Bakker, the Prince of Nothing guy. Subversive to the core and makes every line one wonderfully crafted quote. Supposed to be some kind of thriller about a missing girl who belonged to a cult of weirdos who think the world was just a fake stage where everyone plays a role after having been hypnotized and forget reality (something like The Matrix). Only that this conceit is actually used to describe how the world actually IS. What we live every day. We have these two contrasting sides, one pitted against the other, that morph into scary mirrors.

The protagonist is built with the idea that he can’t forget anything, the perfect memory. One interesting consequence is about his perception of “people”. We, “normal people”, perceive expressions and attitudes of others like something transitory, while the people themselves are real and come first. But for him, his perfect memory makes him recognize the same expressions and attitudes across different people, to the point that it’s those expressions that he recognizes and categorizes, while the people themselves become transitory. People that become collections of deja-vus and known patterns. Oblivious actors.

Now down the priority list I continue to read Bakker’s fantasy The Darkness that Comes Before, which is excellent but obviously much more scattered and divergent compared to the book above. And then The Way of Kings which works well if I read it after Disciple so that I can actually go to sleep more relaxed ;)

I’m also reading Proust Swann’s Way. I’m italian, Proust writes in French, and I’m reading him in English. It doesn’t make sense but Penguin made this edition that seems to have a very good translation and is indeed a pleasure to read. Everyone should read some Proust, it’s maybe one of the most accessible among the literary writers. Very much evocative. It’s not one of those things that make reading feel like work and that one usually associates with the Big Names.

Besides, there’s this nice interplay between Proust and Bakker’s book. Perfect memory from a side and involuntary memory from the other. One who hopes to get away from his memories for once, and the other desperately trying to seize them while they elude him. Incidentally Bakker’s character is the biggest cynic ever, while Proust is the exact opposite: one who cares and is desperately searching.

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