Friday, 31 May 2013

An Imaginary Life by David Malouf

“We are creating the lineaments of some final man, for whose delight we have prepared a landscape, and who can only be god.” 

Sometimes it is  possible to have a deep appreciation for a work of art, without any sense of attachment or engagement with it. Reading this short work of fiction was akin to looking at a painting in an art gallery. The genius of the artist is clear and yet the image leaves you cold.

In some ways , the subject matter, the poet Ovid’s encounter with the wild boy, perfectly describes my sense of attraction yet distance from the text. I was draw in by the beautiful cacophony of words, expertly weaved together in a harmonious tapestry, and yet I longed for more of a story.

It recalled a dreamlike state, where images floated by without a solid anchor to  a more plot centric device. I wanted to dislike the book, frustrated as I was with the sense of displacement, and yet I still hold it in high regard for it encompassed a real sense of beauty and perfectly encapsulated the notion of exile. Such economy of words, reminiscent of poetry, which is so apt given the character of Ovid. I am perplexed by this odd interaction with the text, yet entertained.  4 out of 5, thanks again to Nicki for the lend of this one.

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