Katie's Reviews > Tristes Tropiques

Tristes Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
238808
's review
Feb 14, 09

Recommended to Katie by: Susan Sontag
Recommended for: anyone! everyone!
Read in February, 2009

I don't think I can say it any better than SS:
"Tristes Tropiques is one of the great books of our century. It is rigorous, subtle, and bold in thought. It is beautifully written. And, like all great books, it bears an absolutely personal stamp; it speaks with a human voice."
_______________________________________

Only forty pages in and I already sense that this will be one of the best books I've read in the last five years:

I wished I had lived in the days of real journeys, when it was still possible to see the full splendor of a spectacle that had not yet been blighted, polluted and spoiled; I wished I had not trodden that ground as myself, but as Bernier, Tavernier, or Manucci did.... In short, I have only two possibilities: either I can be like some traveller of the olden days, who was faced with a stupendous spectacle, all, or almost all, of which eluded him, or worse still, filled him with scorn and disgust; or I can be a modern traveller, chasing after the vestiges of a vanished reality. I lose on both counts,...for, while I complain of being able to glimpse no more than the shadow of the past, I may be insensitive to reality as it is taking shape at this very moment, since I have not reached the stage of development at which I would be capable of perceiving it. A few hundred years hence, in this same place, another traveler, as despairing as myself, will mourn the disappearance of what I might have seen, but failed to see. I am subject to a double infirmity: all that I perceive offends me, and I constantly reproach myself for not seeing as much as I should.
6 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Tristes Tropiques.
sign in »

No comments have been added yet.