R Magritte Epistemology Kills A woman presses her ear to a door. On the other side, her lover and a strange man are talking. What if she hears something conclusive, proof that her lover has killed someone? If he guesses that she knows, she may become a target. Yet she continues to listen, as any of us would. Especially when the process of knowing has already begun. This book, it turns out, is accessible. It hooks into a kind of desire that is all but ubiquitous. All men by nature desire to know, says Aristotle.
To enjoy this book, and to get into trouble because of this book, all you have to be is curious. Who can resist a good one? We learn on the first page that a man has been stabbed to death. She admires their elegance and camaraderie and calls them, privately, the Perfect Couple. When she finds out that the man, Miguel Desvern, has been murdered, she approaches the woman to offer her condolences.
She becomes his lover, and their entanglement gradually sheds new light on the murder. The final plot twist begins by seeming so ludicrous as to be insulting and ends by being chillingly, thrillingly persuasive. They provoke and then satisfy our desire to come face to face with the worst that could happen. At the same time, they reassure us that the only possible place for such an encounter is in a work of fiction.
Close the book, and the danger goes away. Dolz is in her late 30s and works at a publishing house in Madrid. Good taste is the thing in the world that most impresses her. She imagines their self-comforting thoughts: For one thing, the suffering of the stricken person is too monstrous to be believed. Nothing like that will happen to you… would be too much of a coincidence. Thank goodness, says the gut, in the split second before consciousness steps in.
Instantly, the story of the tragedy seems more plausible. It was merely selfish, self-protective. For a frightening instant, we glimpse the current of denial on which we float toward death.
If this book were only a murder mystery with a hidden agenda—namely, to expose the messy nature of our relationship to the suffering of others—its project would be interesting enough. In this book, the action, crucial as it is, accounts for perhaps 10 percent of the page count. Another part, though, forgets the action and becomes interested in the digression itself.
The real genius of this book is that it will make you shut the book, lean back in your chair, and consider an abstract and formidable question. Alday refuses to be comforted. Think about this, and it will explode your notions of the passage of time. Day to day, we take for granted that we move forward. Each of them is arguing that the present is an overwhelming, all-consuming state. Attempting to diagnose the problem, of course, implies that there is a problem—that the chief role of characters in fiction is to make us take their pain seriously.
In a sense, his characters are themselves only digressions—subordinate to the idea at hand, a way of elaborating upon it. Essayist Phillip Lopate has spoken eloquently of the digression as a formal prose technique. If we think of prose itself as the surface of a book and of the ideas conveyed as its interior, then this book, like most infatuating things, possesses great surface beauty.
His longtime translator, Margaret Jull Costa, does smart, elegant justice to his sentences. After ten years because of numerous complications , during which time she has remarried, her first husband reappears, assuming that the passionate love he shared with his wife has remained intact.
They became her strength, as she began each day. Then one day, she learned from the news that Miguel has been brutally murdered on the street, killed by multiple knife wounds from a deranged, homeless man. Can she still be in love with him? She is bothered by the possibility that her desire for him cancels out what she knows that he has done.
Is she going to her own death? Will he murder her so he can eventually marry Luisa? Do strong infatuations cancel our ethical beliefs? At what stage do despicable acts cancel all feelings of love? Or maybe they are crimes of infatuation. No surprise that the novel has been a huge international success. One day, though, Miguel whose surname alternates between Desvern and Deverne, starting in the very first clause of the novel: She is constantly conjecturing and theorizing about the world around her, taking in experience and transforming it into thought, digression, and invention.
Each of its complex clauses, each of its somehow tight yet sprawling sentences, feed off of what has come before and what will come after, lending the text an incredible expectancy and momentum.
One is held in suspense not by the movement of plot points but by the thoughts and theories of the agents involved.
R Magritte Epistemology Kills A woman presses her ear to a door. On the other side, her lover and a strange man are talking.
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Be not deceived in this respect.
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