This is a story of a modern Odyssey, a quest of a young rich man Eric to get his haircut on the day that the president is visiting the city. While thiThis is a story of a modern Odyssey, a quest of a young rich man Eric to get his haircut on the day that the president is visiting the city. While this book is not a retelling of Homer's Odyssey and it does not parallel that story there are many aspects of Cosmopolis which elude to The Odyssey.
It is a social commentary about what the modern Odyssey is, not a story about a hero's battle against the elements of nature, monsters and the wrath of the gods in the noble quest of returning to his homeland and reuniting with his devoted wife and son. But the story of a wealthy man who is more of an antihero than a hero struggling against traffic, a failing economy, and riotous street protestors in the name of self-fulfillment and instant gratification with a lavish stretch limo as his ship.
But beneath the shallowness, lust, and materialism which make up the physical journey Eric undergoes an introspective internal journey. Along the way he has several encounters with various individuals which make him question himself and seek to understand his idenity, and what he truly wants from himself, the world, and the people in his life....more
One of the things which I really like about Saramago is the way in which he produces these unfathomable experiences and then explores the way in whichOne of the things which I really like about Saramago is the way in which he produces these unfathomable experiences and then explores the way in which society responds to these events and just what societies reactions say about us as humans and about society itself.
This was a very thought provoking book with a unique concept. I really enjoyed some of the philosophical discussions regarding death and the nature of death which are brought up within the book. I quite liked the prospects of their being more then one type of death, and that each of us dies our own individual death, while at the same time there is one great final Death as well.
There were many things I really found quite fascinating at the start of this book and I like some of the cultural questions which were raised, though towards the middle I felt the story started to drag a bit. Near the end my interest picked up again, but it also felt as if it had in fact turned into a completely different story, but I did finding the ending quite beautiful. ...more
This book left me with some conflicted feelings. On the one hand It was beautifully written, and the prose was lyrical. I found the story engaging andThis book left me with some conflicted feelings. On the one hand It was beautifully written, and the prose was lyrical. I found the story engaging and the book kept me captivated from beginning to end. The characters were intriguing, and the story was thought provoking. I quite enjoyed the ideas which were put forth in the book.
But one thing I must say is that perhaps the description provided for this book was somewhat misleading. I had in mind something a bit more dystopic in nature, and I was thinking that it would be something a bit more along the lines of A Clockwork Orange. While this book did have a disturbing element to it, it was presented in a way that did not in truth unsettle me in the way I had been expecting and hoping for when I started reading. In a way I was waiting for more to happen.
While I did enjoy the book and I am glad that I read it, I must say that I did find it to be on the whole anti-climatic and I do not think there is anything within it that will in fact linger with me for long after I have read it. It did not make a strong long lasting impression.
But it was a beautiful and interesting read. ...more
At first I found it difficult to get into this novel. The steam of conscious style of the narrative made it somewhat hard to follow at the start, butAt first I found it difficult to get into this novel. The steam of conscious style of the narrative made it somewhat hard to follow at the start, but soon I adapted to the rhythm of the book and after that I truly loved it and appreciated the beauty of the writing. I found it to be an engaging story full of depth, meaning and truth.
I do not know a great deal about Casanova beyond his notorious reputation as the great womanizer and seducer, but Marai provides a much more human portrayal of Casanova. Most often he is portrayed as this young dashing arrogant hero (or anti-hero). In Casanova in Bolzano he is a man who is full of flaws, doubts, and internal struggles. We are introduced to him later in life as a man in his 40s, who is in truth not particularly handsome and who is bitter about the reputation he has accumulated and the way in which men and women gawk at him and whisper about him wherever he goes. He is also lonely because of his persistent inability to truly find the woman with whom he can love, whom he can live a fulfilling and satisfying life with. He is fated to be restless, unhappy, and never content for the constant fear that he will not truly live his life to the fullest extent.
He believes himself to be a writer and yet he cannot write for he fears to write would mean that he was not truly living, and that one cannot truly write until indeed they have lived life.
It is a beautiful and in someways tragic story. ...more