Alta's Reviews > Dreams and Stones

Dreams and Stones by Magdalena Tulli
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Jun 11, 2009

it was amazing

Tulli’s Dreams and Stones, a work half prose poem half narrative, is reminiscent of Kafka’s parables in that the story seems to be telling much more than its surface lets appear; and it is reminiscent of Schulz in its unbound imagination and metaphoric associations. But its theme is very remote from the concerns that the two Jewish writers had at the time when they lived and wrote. It is a theme which in today’s academic circles is described as nature versus culture or nature versus technology. A theme which in the same circles has been dressed in a jargon entirely absent from Tulli’s book—for like any true creation, Dreams and Stones creates its own language as it re-creates the world. And because we often perceive things only in the shell we are accustomed to, we may fail to see what this book “is about.” Tulli’s countrymen say it is about a city, namely Warsaw, and they are probably right in a certain way. But for those of us who do not know Warsaw, the book is no less vivid: the city it describes is not only Warsaw, but any city, a mythical city whose history replicates the history of civilization and the intricate relation between nature and artifact residing at the core of all societies.

Knowing that Tulli has translated Italo Calvino into Polish also reminds us that Calvino is the author of Invisible Cities, a collection of fable-like tales, whose narrator takes us through the labyrinth of the numerous cities he has passed through, all with names of women, all elusive and desirable as the women whose names they wear. Like for Calvino, for Tulli, cities are living organisms, and any city worthy of the name is sustained by a unifying thread, by a certain perspective or discourse.

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Finished Reading
June 11, 2009 – Shelved

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message 1: by Alan (new)

Alan sounds interesting.

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