Although this wasn’t really an international anthology given that the selections are mostly English-dominated and represent a limited range of globalAlthough this wasn’t really an international anthology given that the selections are mostly English-dominated and represent a limited range of global writers, out of the eighty stories I still loved about twenty. This accounts for the low score, but the anthology should still be read for its top stories:
Margaret Atwood- Wilderness Tips* Toni Cade Bambara- Gorilla, My Love* Julian Barnes- Evermore* T. Coraghessan Boyle- Rara Avis Peter Carey- The Fat Man in History Patrick Chamoiseau- The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff Vikram Chandra- Dharma Sandra Cisneros- Never Marry a Mexican Jim Crace- The Prospect from the Silver Hills Nathan Englander- The Twenty-Seventh Man* Victor Erofeyev- The Parakeet Eduardo Galeano- The Story of the Lizard Who Had the Habit of Dining on His Wives Peter Hoeg- Portrait of the Avant-Garde* Hanif Kureishi- Intimacy* Torgny Lindgren- The Stump-Grubber* Lorrie Moore- Willing Amos Oz- Where the Jackals Howl Francine Prose- Talking Dog Ingo Schulze- The Ring Graham Swift- Learning to Swim* Edmund White- Cinnamon Skin Joy Williams- The Farm* Jeanette Winterson- The Green Man
* These are must reads, and the top three are Wilderness Tips, The Stump-Grubber and Learning to Swim...more
the narration of the book is penetrated by a certain malaise of spirit, by the poignant mood of both the sensei and the initial narrator. the style ofthe narration of the book is penetrated by a certain malaise of spirit, by the poignant mood of both the sensei and the initial narrator. the style of the work is genial and sincere in a depressing kind of way, yet throughout kokoro there is undercoated a pervasive nihilism-that is characteristically seen as stark or minimalistic prose. this sense of meaningless is paraded as an inter-generational change in values, a lose of love and trust that causes distrust, or simply the metamorphoses of shame into guilt (and its similarities to original sin), even the case of ritual suicide as meaningful begins from the underlying case of nihilism. although this type of nihilism deals strictly with the meaningless that comes from a guilt that shades all of life and cannot be erased; it is still the basic being of existence.
even with acknowledging all of this, the writing was either ineffective or i was simply unaffected on an emotional level by the story. plus, there seems a falsity in the sensei's adamant refusal to soil his wife from truths, for a book that is going to the heart of the matter, it leaves in the final section a missing revelation: the sensei was never certain of his wife's emotions, he couldn't trust them or his, instead he tells the initial narrator the truth as a way of scapegoating his guilt (the same guilt that made him commit suicide and never reveal the truth to his wife). all of his acts have been ways of avoidance, of atoning for guilt; every act, even his letter and gentleness to his wife were acts of repentance. that is the reason i see this book as false; it does not penetrate to the heart of that matter; it simply deals with a guilty man in search of atonement and finding none. unless of course soseki means to say the search for redemption is at the heart of man's being.
this is seen best in the closing lines of kokoro: 'My first wish is that her memory of me remains should be kept as unsullied as possible. So long as as my wife is alive, I want everything I told you to remain a secret--even after I myself am dead.'
so add being ashamed to the character of sensei as revealed by his cryptic want to have his confession remain secret (the key phrase being) as long as the sole person who can judge him remains alive. even in death he can't face his actions. ...more
as an introduction to existentialism this work tends to allow for Barrett's preferences to take hold of actual facts. not that his notions and opinionas an introduction to existentialism this work tends to allow for Barrett's preferences to take hold of actual facts. not that his notions and opinions are clouded, but simply for an introduction it is opinionated. such as, a clear dislike of sartre is exposed via his adamant dismissal whereas heidegger amounts to a personal loved-one. nevertheless it still holds as a profound and enormous project in pinpointing the meaning of this errant philosophy; Irrational Man holds as worth reading and deconstructing.
my main disappointments with the work is Barrett's dismissal of nietzsche's Will to Power as basic marxism; not only to the lack of similarities but also to the author's seeming disgust at the concept of power and his portrayal of power as a main problem with modern man. this not only fails to take into account the Will to Power in heideggerian terms of Being, but instead leaves it on the same level of Sartre's Being-in-itself, or rather in a way that can only objectify or be applied over objects. essentially Barrett repeats the very methods he disparages....more