Thursday, March 13, 2008

What We're Reading: The Invention of Morel

I very nearly replaced this book with something more current...something with crisp white pages. I was naive. If all classic literature was as wonderful as this novella, I think I'd embrace the other extreme and swear off anything written in this decade.

It was chance that I even discovered this gem. In a moment of boredom I was reading a forum on the TV program LOST. While Sawyer is periodically lost in a good book, this time he was reading The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. The fans were pleased, as the story is also set upon a mysterious island inhabited by a fugitive. Neat, yes?

Like the nighttime drama, questions abound - who are the mysterious tourists upon the island? Why do dual suns shine down from the sky? What is the meaning of the disturbing sense of déjà vu, where time repeats like a skipping record? There are no polar bears, no Dharma Initiative - but things are certainly not what they seem in this place.

In 1941, Bioy Casares won the Primer Premio Municipal Award in Buenos Aires. Jorge Luis Borges, in the prologue, says of the story: "I have discussed with the author the details of his plot. I have reread it. To classify it as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole."

It's that good.

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