The narrative form of short fiction often ends with an unexpected unveiling. The same form, but suddenly standing before you nude. In this way short fThe narrative form of short fiction often ends with an unexpected unveiling. The same form, but suddenly standing before you nude. In this way short fiction is similar to another minimalist form, haiku. Many haiku, like cherry trees shedding their blossoms--one by one--expose a sadness at the heart of ephemerality. Much of Felix's stripped-down prose -- found in his debut collection of tales, a novella, and now this second collection -- bares similarly poignant modes of being. You'll be hard pressed to find another writer who pulls it off with such silken abandon.
What kind of tales does one write when the school in the Galician village one attended had only one, masterful, book, Don Quixote? These tales work subtly, and like a hatful of mushrooms gathered in the forests of Galicia, are as muted in tone as they are multiform. They center on what happens when we realize that the things that most quicken our hearts, our long-sought, most cherished dreams, turn out to be nothing but quixotic quests: only so much smoke.
As in so many fairy tales, deep wisdom wells up from within the pages of Felix's latest offerings. ...more
Once upon a long, long, long time. . . in a faraway land. . . a land faraway. . . where the kiss of the Princess floats down from the ramparts, and gi
Once upon a long, long, long time. . . in a faraway land. . . a land faraway. . . where the kiss of the Princess floats down from the ramparts, and gives the Prince courage, the dragon to slay, where Arabian midnights and Black Forest bowers shine with genies and faeries and wizardly powers. . . where the sea blue is bluer than bluest cornflowers and deeper than church steeples. . . towers upon towers . . . where the littlest mermaid floats up in the night and breasts the dark waters, and sings to the sailors, and unbraids blue tresses, entwined in sea grasses, where reef awaits ship prow, in palest moonlight . . .
And so it was. . . each night . . . she rolled it out. . . her ocean of tales . . . like a vast silken sea. . . spreading it out . . . rolling it up . . . spreading it out . . . rolling it up . . . spreading it out . . . into the oceans of our dreams . . .
As do many novels from this island nation, the protagonist here seems insular because immersed in a sea of feeling.
Here the emotion is the one coinedAs do many novels from this island nation, the protagonist here seems insular because immersed in a sea of feeling.
Here the emotion is the one coined by Japanese philosopher Motoori Norinaga: mono no aware,'a poignant feeling of the transience of things,' which Norinaga argued formed the sap of much of Japanese culture: from cherry blossom viewing to The Tale of Genji.
At the opening we find the protagonist immersed in this emotion while carrying out an odd daily ritual.
During the course of a long flashback involving the protagonist's relationship with (surprise! surprise!) a young beauty, we understand the of source of his sadness.
Like Japanese director Ozu, who used numinous aesthetic arrest as an element around which to paint narrative, the author achieves his considerable effect subtly: not through plot convolutions but by situating the reader within the sea of sentiment surrounding the protagonist.
Had Herman Hesse been Japanese, he might have penned something similar....more
I am like a prisoner in bonds, I have ten thousand anxieties but no one to confide them to. They can make me work, or they can cut my hair; They can
I am like a prisoner in bonds, I have ten thousand anxieties but no one to confide them to. They can make me work, or they can cut my hair; They can eat my flesh, and they can drink my blood. Knowing this is death, I would suffer anything willingly, To make me his wife is worse than killing me. Alas, how a pretty face has made me suffer, How I resent it that I am weak and soft like water.
Han poet and composer Wen-chi (Wenji), was captured by nomads and taken beyond the Great Wall and into the frontier. During her captivity, she became the wife of the Zuoxianwang (Leftside Virtuous King), producing two sons. After twelve years of captivity, she was rescued by the heroic Cao Cao, Chancellor of Han and hero of Three Kingdoms, who ransomed her in the name of her father, who had already died before her capture. When she returned to her homeland, she left her children behind in the frontier and wrote of her captivity. This "Beauty and the Barbarian" genre--pitting wilting feminine delicacy and culture against beyond-the-Wall barbarity, her natural maternal attachments against her yearning to return to her refined and artistic roots--inspired other poets as well as painters to embellish her story in their own accounts.
"Like a man strolling down a familiar street, philosophy moves with ease within certain settled and well-established distinctions -- like the distinct"Like a man strolling down a familiar street, philosophy moves with ease within certain settled and well-established distinctions -- like the distinctions between presence and representation, reality and image, necessity and contingency, truth and fiction, and -- this is what particularly interests me here -- the possible and the impossible. But very interesting writers like Nietzsche, Derrida, and Foucault have made a name for themselves showing, to the scandal of (a self-proclaimed and self-congratulatory) "reason," how representation precedes presence, images structure reality, truths are fictions that have taken hold, and how the possible is quite pedestrian and boring while everything we truly desire is impossible, the impossible being what we love most of all. Stamped by the success of these analyses, philosophers of a more classical frame of mind have come to think that the time is out of joint and a destructive anarchy has been unleashed upon the land. Derrida, impudent and impish to the end, rejoins that being out of joint is just what makes justice possible for those who are enjoined and in bind, that a strategic dose of anarchy is just what opens things up if you happen to be at the bottom end of a hierarchy."