Britain's first book blogger (November 2000)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Possibility and actuality

This week's TLS runs a short review of a 25 year old novel, Christopher Priest's The Affirmation. It is a novel about autobiography, alternate worlds, obsessive love, grief and madness. So, right up the street parallel to mine. In summary, Sam Thompson writes that as the main character cracks up:
it becomes clear that [Priest] is not merely using his alternate world as a figure for schizophrenia, nor writing the sort of self-regarding metafiction that evaporates into a comment on its own evanescence. Instead, with distressing plausibility, The Affirmation implies that the human tendency to make stories is itself a kind of madness. Bringing home the power of narrative to steal reality, affirming nothing, it abandons us mid-sentence, poised between page and world, discomfited and hyper-aware.
It's the kind of book that offers to me both the suppression, through reading it, of the desire to write something like it, and the arousal of the sense of being able, at last, to write that book.

The same can be said of Borges and the Plain Sense of Things, Gabriel Josipovici's remarkable essay about fiction, possibility and actuality taken from his new collection The Singer on the Shore. If you have the slightest concern with the interaction of these three worlds, do not miss.

1 comment:

  1. "It is a novel about autobiography, alternate worlds, obsessive love, grief and madness. So, right up the street parallel to mine." It seems we live on parallel streets and I'll be scrounging around in your archives for similar recommendations. Thanks!

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