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
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