Peter Pomerantsev takes us through the heart of modern Russian through reality television. Assigned to create a reality show, his real life experiencePeter Pomerantsev takes us through the heart of modern Russian through reality television. Assigned to create a reality show, his real life experiences there reveal the new Post-Soviet Russia. At times, a strange caricature of US media and at others showing the same secretive dictatorial nature of the Soviet Past, Pomerantsev reveals all. The media can heavily sculpt this image and it is working overtime in Russia to do just that.
What happens in these stories is an attempted transformation of the image of Russia. The consequences of this image change are those who get swept up into the story. There are those who try to manipulate the game who end up on the wrong end of it imprisoned or dead. It is a never ending merry-go-round where while on the ride it feels like progress. It is a Russia attempting to redefine itself, yet falls in the same two traps of totalitarianism and corruption. Pomerantsev takes a sympathetic look at those who are trying to make it, but in the end even he gets caught up on the politics of the day. When chasing a story that ends up being sad, the production company dumps his project and him. The desire of the saccharine overwhelms truth and progress resulting in the aptly titled book Nothing is True and Everything is Possible. ...more
The only way to survive in this world is by keeping alive our dream, without ever fulfilling it, since the fulfilment never measuresFavorite Passages:
The only way to survive in this world is by keeping alive our dream, without ever fulfilling it, since the fulfilment never measures up to what we imagine. xxiii
I've had great ambitions and boundless dreams, but so has the delivery boy or the seamstress, because everyone has dreams. What distinguishes certain of us is our capacity for fulfilling them, or our destiny that they be fulfilled. In dreams I am equal to the delivery boy and the seamstress. I differ from them only in knowing how to write. Yes, writing is an act, a personal circumstance that distinguishes me from them. But in my soul I'm their equal. P24
Literature - which is art married to thought, and realization untainted by reality-seems to me the end towards which all human effort would have to strive, if it were truly human and not just a welling up of out animal self. To express something is to conserve its virtue and take away its terror. Fields are greener in their description than in then actual greenness. Flowers, if described with phrases that define them in the air of the imagination, will have colours with a durability not found in cellular life. What moves lives. What is said endures. There's nothing in life that's less real for having been well described. Small-minded critics pointing that such-and-such poem, with its protracted cadences, in the end says merely that it's a nice day. But to say it's a nice day is difficult, and tht nice day itself passes on.
It's up to as to conserve the nice day in a wordy, florid memory, sprinkling new flowers and new stars over the fields and skies of the empty, fleeting outer world. Everything is what we are, and everything will be, for those who come after as in the diversity of time, what we will have intensely imagined —what we, that is, by embodying our imagination, agination, will have actually been. The grand, tarnished panorama of History amounts, as I see it, to a flow of interpretations, a confused consensus of unreliable eyewitness accounts. The novelist is all of us, and we narrate whenever we see, because seeing is complex like everything. Right now I have so many fundamental thoughts, so many truly metaphysical things to say that I suddenly feel tired, and I've decided to write no more, think no more. I'll let the fever of saying put me to sleep instead, and with closed eyes I'll stroke, as if petting a cat, all that I might have said. P27
My march of triumph didn't get as far as a teapot or an old cat I'll die as I've lived, amid all the junk on the outskirts, sold by weight among the postscripts of the broken. May I at least carry, to the boundless possibility contained in the abyss of everything, the glory of my disillusion like that of a great diem and the splendour of not believing like a banner of defeat: a banner in feeble hands, but still and all a banner, dragged through mud and thc blood of the weak but raised high for who knows what reason-whether in defiance, or as a challenge, or in mere desperation -as we vanish into quicksand. No one knows for what reason, because one knows anything, and the sand swallows those with banners as it swallows those without. And the sand covers everything: my Life, my prose, my eternity. I carry my awareness of defeat like a banner of victory. 54
I weep over my imperfect pages, but if future generations read them, they will be more touched by my weeping than by any perfection I might have achieved, since perfection would have kept me from weeping and, therefore, from writing. Perfection never materializes. The Saint weeps, and is human. God is silent. That is why we can love the Saint but cannot love God. 65
I secretly constellate and have my infinity. 103
To take note, not with my senses, but with the awareness of on senses... The possibility of other things... And suddenly, from behind me, I hear the metaphysically abrupt arrival of the office boy. I feel like I could kill him for barging in on what I wasn't thinking. I turn around and look at him with a silence full of hatred, tense with latent homicide, my mind already hearing the voice he'll use to tell me something or other. He smiles from the other side of the room and says 'Good afternoon' in a loud voice. I hate him like the universe. 128
I'm tired. I had a long day full of idiotic work in this almost deserted, office. Two employees are out sick and the others aren't here. I'm alone, except for the office boy in the back. I miss the future when I'll be able to look back and miss all of this, however absurdly. P. 160
Perhaps the novel is a more perfect life and reality, which God creates through us. Perhaps we live only to create it. It seems that civilizations exist only to produce art and literature; words are what speak for them and remain. P171
“To write is to forget. Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. Music soothes, the visual arts exhilarates, the performing arts (such as acting and dance) entertain. Literature, however, retreats from life by turning in into slumber. The other arts make no such retreat— some because they use visible and hence vital formulas, others because they live from human life itself. This isn't the case with literature. Literature stimulates life. A novel is a story of what never was, a play is a novel without narration. A poem is the expression of ideas or feelings a language no one uses, because no one talks in verse.”
To kill our dream life would be to kill ourselves, to mutilate our soul. Dreaming is the one thing that we have that's really ours, invulnerably, and inalternably ours. P 275
One of the souls great tragedies is to execute a work and then realize, once it's finished, that it's not any good. P200 ...more
A pugilist existentialism wrapped inside this short fiction novel rides the edge of philosophy and insanity. This novel seems ahead of its time whereaA pugilist existentialism wrapped inside this short fiction novel rides the edge of philosophy and insanity. This novel seems ahead of its time whereas existentialism in fiction wouldn’t become wide spread until at least a decade after the publication of this novel. The author explores the ideas of perception and reality through an attempt to remove an identity.
Moscarda is a prominent man in his Italian Villa. His father worked and founded a bank that is the bedrock of the community. However, it only takes a comment by his wife to pull the string of his unraveling. The reader then bears witness to Moscarda’s often on-sided conversation on identity. We cannot really judge who we are. As we stare at ourselves in the mirror, we cannot see that person. Furthermore, no one person can see that person either. He is, in a way, a stranger to himself and to others. There are only versions of this person. The person we see ourselves and the way others see us, thus the title One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand.
Moscardo tries to strip his identity from others so he can truly see himself. He threatens much of the town in the process and it leads to him being shot. This aspect further explores how everyone relies on that identity and his predictable behavior. In the end he finds an identity that’s very similar to a monk, stripped of everything. The exploration can also be viewed as someone with too much pressure on himself. It seems the author went through a series of crises while writing the book. Perhaps it is also an exploration of how to lift off the burden society places on an individual.
These kinds of concepts resonate even today where people can carefully sculpt an online existence. It can also explain how we can get into silly arguments on the internet when someone upsets our mental cart. It’s also interesting how we can perceive people online, but sees them differently in person.
This is definitely a cerebral book with mostly philosophical type examples until actions near the end of the book drive a story testing the theories. It’s a short but very intense kind of book.
...when seeing people's eyes on me, I felt as if I were being subjected to a horrible oppression, thinking that all those eyes gave me an image that surely wasn't the one I knew myself but another that I could neither know nor prevent; merely saying mad things was nothing: I felt like doing them, doing mad things: rolling over in the streets or flying along in dance-steps, winking here, sticking out my tongue and making a face there..." p. 81
"...in this oppression. Each wants to impose on the others that world he has inside himself, as if it were outside, to make all see it his way, and the others cannot be in it except as he sees them." p. 85
This book has no ending. It's like an experiment by the writer. He creates the beginning of a story and then cuts it off just as the story gets intereThis book has no ending. It's like an experiment by the writer. He creates the beginning of a story and then cuts it off just as the story gets interesting. It's one of the few books I have read that is written in the Second Person. You are reading the book, you are investigating why the story cuts off and then another story begins. The chapters where YOU take action are numbered, but the stories you read are named. Even the chapters are the beginning of statements with no end.
It's an examination of the writing process and the reading process and how the two connect. It's very interesting, but as a story, it doesn't seem to conclude anything. If you like the journey, but not necessarily the destination, this book will interest you.
If on a winters night a traveler, outside the town of malbork, leaning from the steep slope without fear of wind or vertigo, looks down in the gathering shadow in a network of lines that enlace, in a network of lines that intersect, on the carpet of leaves illuminated by the moon around an empty grave-- what story down there awaits it's end? He asks, anxious to hear the story.
Do you believe that every story has a beginning and an end? In ancient times a story could only end two ways: having passed all the tests, the hero and heroine married, or else they died. The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death. p. 259
"Readers are my vampires." p.170
"What is the reading of a text, except the recording of certain thematic occurrences..."p. 186
"The world is so complicated, tangled, and overloaded that to see into it with any clarity you must prune and prune." p.240
"I would like to be able to write a book that is only an incipit, that maintains for it's whole duration the potentiality of a beginning, the expectation still not focused on an object." p 177
I enjoyed the part early in the book that describes all the books that exist for the reader...
Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of books you haven't read which were frowning on you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn't Read, the Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading...p.4
But how to establish the exact moment in which a story begins? Everything has already begun before, the first line of the first page of every novel refers to something that has already happened outside the book. Or else the real story is the one that begins ten or a hundred pages further on, and individuals of the human race form a constant plot, in which every attempt to isolate one piece of living that has a meaning separate from the rest--for example, the meeting of two people, which will become decisive for both--must bear in mind that each of th two brings with himself a texture of events, environments, other people, and that from the meeting, in turn, other stories will be derived which will break off from their common story. p. 153
...the silent voice that speaks to her through books, this ghost with a thousand faces and faceless, all the more elusive since for Ludmilla authors are never incarnated in individuals of flesh and blood, they exist for her only in published pages, the living and the dead both are there always read to communicate with her, to amaze her, and Ludmilla is always read to follow them, in the fickle, carefree relations one can have with incorpreal persons. How is it possible to defeat not the authors but the functions of the author, the idea that truth in that world of ghosts, and inventions by the mere fact of having invested in it his own truth, of having identified himself with that construction of words? p. 158 Chp 4 For me it was a sign coming from the stone; the stone wanted to inform me our substance was common, and therefore something of what constitutes my person would remain, would not be lost with the end of the world; a communication will still be possible in the desert bereft of life, bereft of my life and all memory of me. I am telling the first impressions I noted, which are the ones that count. P 56 ...more