Friday, February 22, 2008

well I never saw THAT coming

The Invention of Morel
Adolfo Bioy Casares

The Invention of Morel has been getting a lot of attention recently due to its appearance on Lost. I don’t watch Lost, so don’t expect any great revelations about how Morel explains the show. By the way, are they still on that damn island? I only watch quality television, like Big Brother 9. I like my tv with a side of brainlessness, thank you very much.

The Invention of Morel begins as our unnamed protagonist, a fugitive from the law, hides on an uninhabited island. One day, mysterious tourists suddenly appear, and our fugitive is frightened they have come searching for him. He needn’t have feared, however; it’s clear they are unaware of him.

He soon becomes entranced by one of the tourists, the beautiful Faustine (inspired by actress Louise Brooks, who appears on the cover). The narrator often hides in the bushes in order to watch Faustine as she watches the sunset. His love for Faustine soon overcomes his fear of capture, and he plans to speak to her.

the muse

When he tries to express his love, he is met with derision, for Faustine ignores him. Soon, however, he comes to realize that she, like all others on the island, ignores him not out of derision but because he cannot be seen. By anyone. Who is truly there? Who is not? What can explain this mystery?

When I finally understood what was happening, I was shocked. As you can tell by the title of this post, I never saw that one coming. No worries: I won’t spoil a thing. I doubt I could explain it coherently anyway.

Let me say right up front that this is one of those books that is much smarter than I am, and so my response to it must come in two forms:

1) the “smart” response that discusses this book as a philosophical work of art;

2) my “real” response that discusses this book as a book.

Feel free to read only the response that interests you most.


Any “smart” response to this book will be painful, and I don’t really feel like thinking right now. A smart response to this book will read like one of those papers I wrote in grad school. DO. NOT. WANT. I need more coffee.

I know! I’ll go make some another pot.

Ok, done. Yummm. Coffee.

I know! I’ll write the real response. Then, when that’s finished, I’ll come back to do this one.

I’m so smart!


You know what? Casares is way too goddamn smart for me.

I understood The Invention of Morel, and I understood the points (at least I think I do, but, let’s face it: I didn’t try too hard, either) Casares was making about creation, immortality, and the nature of reality, but I didn’t enjoy the read as much as I wanted to. As I was reading, I couldn't help but feel that I had to write a paper on it later, and that scared me.

Thankfully it was only 100 pages – and with pictures, too! Now that’s nifty.

In a nutshell: When you first begin Morel, you’ll definitely never guess what’s really going on. It's fascinating and prompts one to ponder the nature of existence and all that, brain hurts.

Oh, yeah, and the "smart" response? Fuck it. I have a snow day today!! No thinking for me!!

Bibliolatry Scale: 5 out of 6 for thought-provokingness; 3 out of 6 for enjoyability = 4 out of 6 total


another good thing said...

Well, if this was the book Sawyer was reading in the episode last night, I never looked past his lips to see the title. Men who read are HOT- regardless of the book choice.

heather (errantdreams) said...

Sounds fascinating! Darn it, another book to add to the wishlist...

I've never watched Lost. X-Files burned me out on shows where they keep holding the answers out of reach so long that you eventually realize they don't have any better clue about what's going on than you do. And even if they do, it can't possibly measure up to the build-up they've given it.

Sarah G said...

That's what I like about not being in grad school anymore - I know some things have deep, profound, symbolic meanings - but if I don't want to think about it too hard, then I won't! Take that grad school!

indigo said...

OOoh...I love Lost and thank you so much for sharing this book. It sounds like a great read. Now to track it down here.

Bybee said...

I love the cover...I've had a girl-crush on Louise Brooks since I discovered her back in middle school.