Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sense of an ending

Its not a good story. In a traditional sense of a story.

The plot is the past and an old man's moldy memory of it. Memory that's mutable. The past is what he makes of it. A life incident that has taken on a different shape with the passage of time. But then facts tumble out and his established past takes on an unsettling shape.

There are a few twists in the tale towards the end which are quite dramatic. But those by themselves do not make it a good story. So then- what does?

Is it his ideas about time and memory? Not by themselves- I say. And really- he's not talked about anything new there. Yes- the reader does develop an almost vicarious interest in the protagonists struggle to deal with uncomfortable incidents which arise from the depths of memory. But memory and its versions have been dealt with umpteen times before in literature. And mostly classified under the label 'Modern History'.

So is it the torn complacency of the protagonist which makes this a good read? Again- he does not come across as being too sorry a figure. A genuine do good-er- who seems to fall into an ever intriguing past the more he proceeds to set things in order.

Is it then the remorse that the reader identifies with? The underlying sense of helplessness arising from the inability to change whats happened in the past. Or perhaps it is a deep sense of foreboding arising from his curse which turns out to be true- almost word-by-word years after him almost ranting it out in frustration in an old letter.

Whatever it is that makes this book a good read is difficult to lay a finger on. But it is worth reading for sure.

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