Sunday, 14 December 2008

To move straight from sleep to writing, how wise is this? Is it a reversal of moving straight from reading to sleep? How many times these days are the books I read, or rather my comprehension of the books I read, affected by the time in which they are read, the circumstance, the serotonin levels and the air temperature?

Danielo Kis' Hourglass provides respite in these twilight minutes, the mental dusk between day and dream. The book is fragmentary, full of delicate repetitions, and those repetitions exist not as a desperate, incalculated attempt to represent memory or forgetting but as wilful reminder, a gentle layering of instances in a movement towards truth.

Ah, the lists, the endless lists! I cannot get enough of his listing chapters. The majority of the narration is achieved through interrogation, through a simple asking. The paragraph breaks and the question is asked, sometimes probing for further description, in other times it asks a question regarding an unknown person or event which the answer reveals to be entirely crucial to what has gone before. And so there is omniscience in both narrators (they know the simultaneous histories, intricate movements and internal thoughts of disparate peoples, all at once), each is drawing information from the other, each knows everything, but needs the other to allow them to reveal it.

And what of the opening chapter in which solid detail is revealed only as the prose's abstraction declines? A simple scene, a man, a schoolbag, forms gradually from a white cube, details etched in relief, sculpted out of a solid form, imagined into existence right in front of the virgin reader. There is too much here, too much for me as I fall asleep, waiting to wake up.