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Poor Anna Petrovna, surrounded by megalomaniac and generally delusional men. Ain’t it the truth! THANK YOU, MR MEEK!
That’s not what this book is aboutPoor Anna Petrovna, surrounded by megalomaniac and generally delusional men. Ain’t it the truth! THANK YOU, MR MEEK!
That’s not what this book is about.
In Siberia in 1919, a forgotten Czech troop holds the town of Yaszyk. The town is mainly populated by an extreme sect of castrate Christians. It’s about history, revolution, Russia. It’s about ideals, cold and rational, brushing up against natural, warm-blooded reality. And it’s about love. What is love? What are its boundaries? What would you do for it?
Another question running through my mind while reading: What is the worth of human life? Are some dispensable for the greater good? Of course not. We’re not terrorists or suicide bombers. Yet we send soldiers off to wars. Though set as historic fiction, The People’s Act of Love is pertinent today. I really wished for someone to talk about it with as I was reading. Unfortunately my book club couldn’t get past the cannibalism.
“Supposing a man, the cannibal, knew that the fate of the world rested on whether he escaped from prison or not. Suppose this. He’s a man so dedicated to the happiness of the future world that he sets himself up to destroy all the corrupt and cruel functionaries he can, and break the offices they fester in, till he’s destroyed himself. Suppose he’s realized that politics, even revolution, is too gentle, it only shuffles people and offices a little. It isn’t that he sees the whole ugly torturing tribe of bureaucrats and aristocrats and money-grubbers who make the people suffer. It’s that they fall to him and his kind like a town falls to a mudslide. He’s not a destroyer, he is destruction, leaving those good people who remain to build a better world on the ruins. To say he’s the embodiment of the will of the people is feeble, a joke, as if they elected him. He is the will of the people. He’s the hundred thousand curses they utter every day against their enslavement, To hold such a man to the same standards as ordinary men would be strange, like putting wolves on trial for killing elk, or trying to shoot the wind. You can pity the innocent man he butchers, if he is innocent. But the fact the food comes in the form of a man is accidental damage. It’s without malice. What looks like an act of evil to a single person is the people’s act of love to its future self. Even to call him a cannibal is mistaken. He’s the storm the people summoned, against which not all good people find shelter in time.”
“Your imaginary cannibal sounds terribly vain.”
(Karen sent this to me.) (Karen's the sauce.) ...more
As EM Forster notes in the introduction, in light of The Leopard I can’t rate this book as highly as I would otherwise. The Leopard is so brilliant,As EM Forster notes in the introduction, in light of The Leopard I can’t rate this book as highly as I would otherwise. The Leopard is so brilliant, so perfect, that anything else must pale in comparison. And yet, to a fan of Lampedusa, it’s manna from heaven. Having finished only one novel in his lifetime, Lampedusa left his admirers forever wanting more. This is the more I was wishing for.