Archive for June 24th, 2011

I read this book ‘The Sea’ by John Banville. A very literary book full of allusions. The book gave me multiple signals as I was reading it and to be frank , it was quite an effort to me, comprehending the subtleties too and following the allusions. In fact I am pretty sure I may not have really captured what the author was up to. But hey, I guess that is what allusions are for, the same book would mean different notions to different people based on the mindset.  Almost 4-5 sentences in every page were so loaded that I had to pause and understand the depth of the statements. My feelings somewhat mirrored how I felt when I read my first Ayn Rand novel in my 11th std. 🙂

This book is about a man who grieves the loss of his wife and tries to relieve his past, in particular the past where he sheds his innocence, in an attempt to overcome the current misery. He himself wonders why past thrills him so much than current and future, as the past was nothing but “Present” at one time! He says “The past beats inside me like a second heart”.

Of course that is a point to ponder after all. Many a time we do get tied to the past. In the process of glorifying the past, we tend to forget to live the present. I guess sometimes it might even be a blessing to have amnesia of the past. Not as bad as Ghajini though! 🙂 There can only be two possibilities, a Great past or a Bad past. Either way we would end up comparing the present as it is with the past and in the first possibility, think of multitude reasons  why the present got so screwed up and in the latter possibility, we would still brood over the bad past asking why that had to happen in the first place, forgetting the good fortunate present.  So if there is a pill to just wipe off the past after the capturing-lessons-learnt session, it may be good! 🙂 Beware! I am only talking about memories here not people! Of course how can we separate people from memories, I guess then it would have to be a really complicated pill. So the best recourse would just learn to live in the PRESENT! 🙂

Another interesting thought of the author that appealed to me is the “worker” definition! He says he doesn’t work and says work is too serious a term. He says he is only energetic in spasms and is free, unlike workers who are tied to the curse of perpetuation.  His kind of people finishes work at the end of the day whereas the real worker only abandons it, to pick up for later! 🙂 How true it is that very few people can actually finish work and get on with their personal lives in the evenings.  Many people have work lingering over their self like ghost and can never be “free” from their job.

The story ends almost abruptly, to me but not to the protagonist. He does ‘seem’ to be relieved of his clutching past and is ready to move on with his life. One of his major misguided notions of his alluring past is clarified at the end and I am not sure if that frees him from the tentacles of the past. Let me end this, quoting his words for what he would do next in life,  “Well, Life is pregnant with possibilities”.

The very name “The Sea” I think is an allegory to the vast mind that stores waves and waves of past. So pick this book if you are ready for a serious introspection and digressive meditations, and entrance yourself in this literary book! If you are in for a light reading, this one is not for you.

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