Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lost in a classic?

Over at the blog A Different Stripe, which is written by the publishing folks at New York Review of Books, they have a post about the TV series Lost with a preview of an upcoming episode in which one of the characters is seen reading this book - The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Cesares, translated by Ruth L.C. Simms. Now, I don't watch Lost, but have seen numerous commercials for the series and so have a vague idea of what it's about. But I have read the novel and if the show is referencing it, then I think I know exactly what it's all about (and you could too!). It is also a great book to pick up during this Oscar week (the novel inspired several film-makers and the homage to the beautiful Louise Brooks on the cover is entirely intentional). It's quite short - you could mute the hours of pre-show babble and read this marvellous story instead. I won't give anything away; suffice it to say that it's set on an isolated island where strange things seem to be happening and posits, with fascinating conviction, an entirely new way to approach reality, creative or otherwise. If you have an interest in cinema, this is a must-read.
It curiously reminded me of another take on the poreous conception of reality, which is Tom McCarthy's completely compelling and utterly original novel Remainder. Also a very difficult novel to describe. A man is awarded an enormous sum of money in damages after being hit on the head by falling debris. What he chooses to do with his money is the crux of the story and is unlike anything you'll have ever read before. Wildly entertaining with energetic prose, mind-boggling concepts and a wild, crazy, unforgettable ending. I'd love to see what a clever film-maker could do with it.

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