Elie's Reviews > Cosmos and Pornografia: Two Novels

Cosmos and Pornografia by Witold Gombrowicz
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's review
Nov 11, 2008

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bookshelves: fiction
Read in December, 2008

Both Cosmos and Pornografia start with a storyteller's "once upon a time" and feature the author-as-narrator stumbling to make sense of a reality clouded by obsession. In Cosmos, the narrative gluts with repetitive associations, hinged around hanging dead animals and a convergence of women's mouths in an enjoyably mystery that disappointingly never takes off. In Pornographia, the narrator's voyeuristic fixation on eking erotic experience from innocence is told with a pitching and doomed hysteria that is all the more enjoyable for achieving fruition.

Already similar, both novels also have character doubles of the narrator, but Pornographia's has balls and moves the narrative admirably, while the double in Cosmos rather resembles one of the buttered radishes the characters forever consume. If you pick this up, be aware that the text is a translation of a translation from Gombrowicz's Polish and read the second one first.

(Since Cosmos and Pornografia are essentially two novels, I allow myself to expand my usual three-sentence reviews to a liberal six.)

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