brian 's Reviews > The Invention of Morel

The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
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Sep 11, 2008

liked it

am i jackass? a moron?

this is a perfectly good book. and a guy spending months on a sun dappled island amongst three dimensional phantoms re-enacting a single weekend is sublime. but this:

“the most complete and total perception not only of the unreality of the world but of our own unreality: not only do we traverse a realm of shadows, we ourselves are shadows.”

that’s octavio paz. and paz is a badasss. a serious badass. and borges – maybe the biggest badass that has ever lived – called this novella ‘perfect’. but listen up great genius writers from the past: the situation set up in the book is super cool and mysterious and gorgeous and, yes, it does lend itself to some kind of metaphor for the elusive nature of truth and life and technology… but mr. paz: isn’t it left so open that it could kinda be a metaphor for so much without actually pointing out anything substantial? and doesn’t casares get kinda mired down in explanation? isn't much of the final third like that awkward moment in many horror films in which the protagonist explains to another character (but, really, he’s speaking to the audience) the whole inner mythology of the film, the whole monster/curse/ancient evil/technological breakthrough and it transforms from like a lynch or kieslowski film into a jon turtletaub film? and don't gimme no shit about it being one of the first of the genre so we gotta accept some of the clumsy machinations that were later refined... i mean jorge luis was banging out tons of these types of stories every week and never pulled that kind of shit.

i think ray bradbury would’ve written a better version of this novella. i think he could’ve tied it more successfully to actual human experience and would’ve dispensed with all the awkward expositional explanation (as did robbe-grillet/resnais in marienbad), while retaining the dark sense of mystery and human folly…

oh, and why the hell is lulu on the cover?

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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

am i jackass? a moron?

Is this rhetorical?

message 2: by brian (last edited Sep 11, 2008 10:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

brian   you really will take a swing at anything that comes your way, won't you, mcveigh?

there's no bait too simple juvenile or obvious for you not to snap at is there?


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 11, 2008 10:47AM) (new)

there's no bait too simple juvenile or obvious for you not to snap at is there?

Um, no.

If you don't realize that by now... well, then, who's the real dumbass in this equation?

Damn, you're bitchy today... You've made two Polish people cry. I hope you're happy.

message 4: by brian (last edited Sep 11, 2008 11:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

brian   um... how many jews does it take to make two polacks cry?

...a rabbi and two polacks walk into a lightbulb store?

Tosh I really liked this short novel. The imagery of it all is important to me and Louise Brooks was the basis for the lead female character. I think that's stated in the book, or in the introduction.

brian   ah... thanks tosh. not in the book. and not in borges's introduction. i didn't read the other intro, though. sure it was included in there. and, yes, the imagery is haunting -- faustine on the rocks watching sunset after sunset, the aquarium, the machine, the various halls of the museum, the garden...

and where do you read 'sodomy' in any of the above, donald? jeez, it always comes back to one thing with you, doesn't it? down boy down!

Tosh With respect to NYRB'S editions it is almost a must to read the introductions. They're fascinating little essays themselves.

message 8: by David (new)

David A very important novella. Required reading.

s.penkevich it transforms from like a lynch or kieslowski film into a jon turtletaub film
That made me laugh my ass off. Glad I read this review and decided to pass on this and just keep reading through Borges collected fictions. It doesn't get much better than JLB anyways.

Riccardo Seems like Borges was one of the best supporters and friends of Casares... maybe they discussed work matters too

message 11: by Reid (new) - added it

Reid I cracked up, too, at the Turtletaub line, but I thought it was a genius fake name, until I googled.

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