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hpagano

hpagano

Currently reading

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Annie Dillard
Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories
Karen Russell
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Claire North
Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
Joshua Greene
The Wisdom Of The Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life
Luc Ferry

Everything Beautiful Began After: A Novel (P.S.)

Everything Beautiful Began After - Simon Van Booy This book had two rare distinctions for me: 1. only fiction book in which I highlighted lots passages that really struck me; 2. only book I have disliked in the middle only to find out that all the uncomfortable stuff was necessary to a good ending.
The book begins a little like a French novel, or Truffaut film. The middle sections dive into post modern 2nd person narrative, with lots of images of typewritten correspondence (it was this section that I found jarring and uncomfortable).
I was not surprised when I learned that Simon Van Booy is also the author of several philosophy books. This novel was an exploration of what it means to live- not just to survive, but to love, grow, and thrive. When the author states his thesis, he is often forced to use words that ring hollow to me: destiny, fate, God, meaning. Then he uses the characters he has breathed to life to play out the thesis, with beautiful attention to the detail of their experience. Those characters, those details, really spoke to me.
My biggest complaint would be that the narrative suggests that there is some endpoint, some place of completion in which characters have grown into their full potential. For narrative purposes there is something harmonious and satisfying at having that endpoint. But I suspect that the philosophical thesis would be more correct admitting that no person, no character, is ever truly finished.