Brent Legault's Reviews > Cosmos

Cosmos by Witold Gombrowicz
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May 11, 2009

it was amazing
Recommended for: Berg!, Bemberg!

The copy of Cosmos that I own had been read previously by a college student who clearly wouldn't have read it otherwise. At first, his marginalia are serious and boring, like his essays no doubt. It's clear he had read a textbook, remembered a term or two from it, watched how his professer used it, waited for his chance to parrot him. It's also clear that he was also not thinking for himself.

Then, beginning on page 70(wherein a violent killing is described), he gets fed up. He stops thinking through the textbook or through the mouth of his professer and he begins to, well, not think but at least speak for himself. He also makes the amateur's mistake of "relating to" the characters and not their master.

Here are a few of his comments:

p. 74 "asshole!"

p. 86 "OMG - he is such a narcissist"

p. 92 "why this book is a bore" (In regards to the narrator's inability to concentrate.)

p. 109 "enough w/the fucking sparrow"

p. 145 "ditto for main character" (In regards to someone having "a screw loose.")

p. 160 "Book in a nutshell" (next to this passage: "The eyes of boredom, old buddy, are bigger than those of fear!"

p. 167 "removed from this world"

p. 172 "oh jesus"

p. 173 "you + me both, dude" (next to this passage: "I don't even know if it is a story.")

p. 175 "too self absorbed to see the signs?" (In regards to someone's suicide.)

p. 181 "OCD weirdo"


I confess, I loved his commentary. I didn't ever agree with it but I yearned to hear more. I would have liked to have been reading this book aloud to him, preferably at his bedside while he lay in a full body cast.

Cosmos is obsessive, repetative in story and style, mind-rumbling and hilarious. It is weird and the narrator is a weirdo (So I do, sometimes, agree with the college student. Yes, I think we'd get along well together, as long as I could resist the urge to "spill" hot tomato soup down the throat of his cast.) who, I have to admit, would these days probably be diagnosed with OCD and other things. Fortunately, he "lived" in a time when crazy could take over the page and make lovely, horrible fictions, never to be bogged down by the clinical, the catagorized, the dull. What a wonderful weirdo is he!










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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

that's absolutely delightful. i mean, i loved the book (though i will freely admit, i had a *really* good teacher for the class i read it in), but i can kind of see where he was coming from. pre-owned books are good times.


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