Monday, October 27, 2008

Lazarus from the dead

Sometimes, life is worth living.

I went shopping today. I stopped at Crossword after splurging on a pair of shoes. I was pleasantly surprised to see Murakami, Lessing, Coetzee and Kafka sitting on the shelves, albeit, Lessing was next to a Kinsella and Murakami was hidden behind a DuMaurrier. They don’t believe in piling up the books alphabetically. Talk about sacrilege. “The trial” was priced over 500 and it wasn’t even in hardback. But, even so, it was there. Partial redemption.

This, after I had completely given up on Crossword when they told me that they didn’t stock up on Chekov’s short stories.

Yes, yes, I know I should not be so critical. And cynical. It has its advantages, though. For example, I was thrilled to find Sartre in the college library. Yes, I meant to use the word thrilled here.

I have read nothing by Kafka till now, but, for some reason, he is right up there in my hall of fame. Maybe, it is because I have been wanting to read “The trial” for so long.

Murakami is a genius. A God even. His short stories are engaging studies in the expansion of the magic that we like to call fiction.

Sometimes, I think that I “check out” books the way guys check out girls. I know that I can’t read all of them, but, that does not stop me. I still have to see and make a wishlist. For the future. You never know, after all.

6 comments:

Dedalus said...
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Dedalus said...

Its a bit surprising to see that you can get around to reading Kafka without having devoured that genius,possibly the best navigator of drama in all of literature:Fyodor Dostoevsky.Kafka used "Crime and Punishment" as a palimpsest for "The Trial".

And ofcourse I'd like to know what really stokes your curiosity for Kafka?The only reason why I read Kafka was because the adjective "Kafkaesque" became ubiquitous post the release of a certain film last year(just to inform,even if you might consider it blasphemous,I happen to prefer cinema to literature).I hasten to add that it is a terrific book although I can't claim to have grasped it completely.

PS:I did skim through the rest of your blog,and I'd have to admit it needs much more than skimming to fully appreciate your writings.Great stuff;most certainly deserving of a much larger than audience than it gets.

Aarushi said...

I did not know that Kafka was influenced by Dostoevsky. I have not read much of Russian authors. I have read Chekov though.

Our English teacher back in school stressed upon the indispensibility of Russian literature. With a special emphasis on Kafka and Chekov. I, also, owe my love of DH Lawrence and Thomas Hardy to her.

I don't consider the preference of cinema to literature blasphemous. I, frankly, don't follow it too closely, so, I don't even have a right to comment on that.

PS: Thanks!

Aarushi said...

I think that it’s funny that the facts Kafka was from Prague and that he wrote predominantly in German do not deter me from classifying him as Russian. It is just one of those things. He is Russian in my mind. Like Seth is English and Rand American.

Sushant said...

I am surprised there is any Sartre in the library, I couldn't ever find it even after numerous frantic searches. The online catalogue shows Camus too, the racks don't.

Read The Trial, it is amazing, at least in my opinion it is. Yes, it will, to some extent, need prior reading of concepts it addresses and builds upon, again, at least in my opinion it will. But then again, reading it with an unconditioned mind could be an even better experience, you never know.

Aarushi said...

@Sushant
The library is seriously messed up. We have some very good literature. I had to comb the shelves, but, the results were satisfying.

I am not planning to do any background reading before "the trial." I think that it is better this way.