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“To be on an island inhabited by artificial ghosts was the most unbearable of nightmares,- to be in love with one of those images was worse than being in love with a ghost (perhaps we always want the person we love to have the existence of a ghost).”
― Adolfo Bioy CasaresThe Invention of Morel

The_Invention_of_Morel

“It is hard to discuss this book without discussing the conceit, which if revealed, shall only spoil the read for those who come here to answer the question, “is it a good read?” To answer that question, one must know his or her tolerance for reading a story that seems to circle around itself until a slow reveal sends one reeling. Frankly, if you do not need to be spoon fed a story – handle sparse prose and let your mind wander – then you may just enjoy this read. After reading it, I have yet to decide if it is brilliant or merely so over my head that I am unable to discern its true literary merits.” ~

The above was my brief summation of Casares’s Invention of Morel on Goodreads. I stumbled upon it this weekend at the used bookshop looking for a book by Carson – the thin red spine of Invention caught my eye, and when I saw it was a nyrb with French starlet cover and an endorsement by Borges…

It is an amazing book that seems to have been the inspiration for several foreign flicks over the years. I started to watch one, “Last Year at Marienbad” but just didn’t have the patience after spending the day reading Casares, André Breton and a bit of Motherwell with a dash of The Neutral (this last is a lecture series by Barthes which is so over my head I have already drown twice in the shallows). What is amazing about Casares’s book is that in all my digging around after reading it, I have found not a mention of surrealism, just science fiction. Granted, the movement was almost done by this publication, however, in my mind this Latin American author who had a strong penchant for the French, certainly was influenced by Breton. It just seems so odd that the intro would allude to the author’s fascination with Joyce and stream of conscious writing, but there is nothing regarding interest in surrealism. Then again, this is where my lack of understanding where these art movements draw lines, ergo, I go pointing in the wrong direction. Perhaps the parallel only aligned in my mind because right after I finished the book, I shook off the wonderment by taking the pup for a stroll with another small book, Breton’s Arcane 17, (cracking it open for the second time in over a year). Breton opens the book by talking about the same bit of Greek mythos that Casares spoke, ergo, two puzzle pieces forced together, even if there is a gap of an inch for a perfect union.

a ghost, a lover, a lover as ghost…there is so much to ponder when we think of the elusiveness of love – gone is this disillusionment for in life, this life, love has gone ghost or perhaps it has transferred to ghost, but as Casares shows, no man is an island and we long for even what we believe we no longer want, we no longer long for despite the dream that keeps us enveloped in charms – is it reality to believe that we can create an object for love or do we project a fallacy when we stare into a mirror that reflects an image that is ours if only devoid of the one thing that makes this life worth living, the soul of the matter, or does the soul reflect too – are we, are you, as immortal as the words being read in this cloud… ~


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2 Comments

  1. I think it’s possible for some people to project an image of themselves that, whether intentionally or not, and even though it is its own truth, masks a larger and fuller “version” of themselves. And it’s possible for another person to fall in love with that image.

    I love ‘The Invention of Morel’ and have never thought about it in terms of Surrealism. I can see why you would, but on the other hand the foundation of literary Surrealism is automatism and Morel is a precisely ordered work; in that sense it’s classical. Borges thought it was perfect and his tastes were very classical. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind if I link to something I wrote about Morel. It was one of my first posts as a blogger, and hardly anyone has read it – Spoiler Alert, though!:

    http://markerstetter.blogspot.com/2009/04/invention-of-morel.html

    Reply
    • Mark ~ I left a few thoughts over at your old blog – a great link, thank you so much! Thanks for being so kind about the Surrealism bit – I was too swept away by the ‘surreal’ story line, not considering that this was (as you stated) not automatic writing, but very precise/calculated…how could it not – so short a story, so complex an idea – brilliant.

      Reply

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