Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Of Kafka, Marquez, Dylan and Other Deamons...



After a long, somehow slow, but tasteful period of reading I've just finished Kafka's The Castle. I read it in German, which is something I recommend to those who can, as the English translation of this never completed work is a Kafkaesque tale itself. The German is so free flowing, and free of cold long sentences, that even reading out loud and listening to flow of the words is a pleasure itself.

The tale of a land-surveyor who is not a land-surveyor who is lost in the Maelstrom of his choices amidst the calm and dark waters of a perfect Bureaucracy which is not perfect definitely took the place of 100 Years of Solitude as the best book I've read.

On the "screenplay" side -where the screen is inside my mind- the tragicomic scenes exceed the Marquez works, to the point where I laughed to the absurdity. However the surreality in the Castle is not magical like in Marquez works. They are so real that you feel you should simply -or maybe forcefully- accept them.

What the book actually meant has been the subject of controversy itself. Some saw the mocking of totalitarianism, some saw the longings of a lone sole for salvation by a loving God. What I saw was very simple. Everyone, including the government, me, you, them unite under choices we make and the sufferings that they bring with. Not surprisingly this is seen as an existentialist theme.

As I hinted before the book is about the sufferings of people who suffer the consequences of not being authentic, not being themselves. This linked perfectly to my favorite Dylan song these days, Brownsville Girl, which goes:


The only thing we know for sure about Henry Porter,
That his name was not Henry Porter


Which further reminded me of my favorite Dylan quote:

People are always talking about freedom. Freedom to live a certain way, without being kicked around. Course the more you live a certain way, the less it feel like freedom. Me, uhm, I can change during the course of a day. I wake and I'm one person, when I go to sleep I know for certain I'm somebody else. I don't know who I am most of the time.


which is accidentally from the movie "I'm Not There" which is a direct opposite of the existentialist phrase the "Dasein", German for being there...

Can it be that Dylan found the ultimate answer to the perils of alienation by being an alien yourself? Well, I gotta ask him this myself.

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