Paul Auster – ”Moon Palace” / Pol Oster – ”Mesečeva palata”

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“A here exists only in relation to a there, not the other way around. There’s this only because there’s that; if we don’t look up, we’ll never know what’s down. Think of it, boy. We find ourselves only by looking what we’re not. You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.” 

Dear friends,

the draft for this post with its solitary title as the only text stood patiently as the first of many open tabs for over a week. I haven’t even started, and I’m having a writer’s block. Fun.

The reason behind the block is that this novel is possibly my favorite so far. Not by Paul Auster. By everyone. You know how it goes: sometimes you’re overly enthusiastic about something, and you have such a strong emotional attachment to it that you just can’t start talking about it. Familiar? It happens to me often. I remember many of my exams, I was supposed to talk about a work from a professional point of view and I just couldn’t detach myself enough to establish a distance. But I remembered that I can create this any way I want. Sure, I want it to be enjoyable for all of you, but still — it’s not an exam.

Anyway, I’ve read ”The New York Trilogy” by Auster first. I’ve read it in an afternoon, partly because I was late, but mostly because I was sucked in his world (the feeling, I was soon to learn, that was here to stay). ”Moon Palace” was also a part of the syllabus, but the feeling was both different and similar. Like when you see a friend you haven’t seen in a while, and they’ve changed, but you kind of feel they’re in a better place now, with their best qualities still there, only enhanced? I read it in a day. I was on a train, texting my friend, and I remember writing ”reading Auster is like having someone put a blanket around you, give you a hot mug, hug you, and tell you the most amazing stories and you somehow feel all the tension leaving your body”. That’s what ”Moon Palace” did to me.

There’s an interesting fact about Auster: you can read him on several levels. I don’t like when people feel not educated enough, or not well prepared, or whatever it is that includes ”not enough” in explaining why one wouldn’t read a book. I’ve recently had a conversation on this topic and it made me sad that people actually see literature as something elitist. Literature is made to be read primarily. The deep analyses, the speculations, the criticism, that’s a job. But reading is not. And don’t ever feel like you’re not good enough for a book (or anything, anything else in life). So, we the people who study literature go deep and try to find Easter eggs (Auster eggs amirite sorry) and the real beauty of his stories is that they can be read as that only: stories. Beautiful, touching, heart-breaking, heart-repairing stories. One of my professors once said that great literature will find the way to give you its message regardless of what kind of ‘literary preparations’ you have prior to reading. Take Eliot, for example. You can stress over him, swallow a library and try solving his puzzle, or you can just read.

”Moon Palace”, right. I do tend to go in all directions, which has cost me some good grades in the past, but you can just skip the parts you find long and boring, okay? ”Moon Palace” follows the story of a certain Marco Stanley Fogg, MS Fogg for short. I bolded story because MS also stands for ‘manuscript’. And aren’t we all manuscripts? Marco is an orphan living with is uncle until his late adolescence, and after his uncle’s death he gets an inheritance consisting of 1492 (remember this?) books, and an instrument. He uses the boxes of books as furniture, and then literally reads his way through life — he reads the books, then sells them in order to survive. What a glorious allegory.

Now, I don’t want to spoil too much, but I also want to talk. It’s very difficult. I’m finding my voice – very postmodernist. So this post I’m going to do one way, and then, please tell me in the comments whether you want me to spoil more or less.

Anyway, Marco takes us on a bumpy ride through his identity search, the search for his family’s past, his own past, and his future. His story intertwines with other stories, and I think this is Auster’s way of saying that none of us can find our identity without realizing it’s rooted in other people’s identities, lives, and actions, while at the same time being dependent on solitude, and being on our own. Considering the fact that a prominent theme is the mythical power of the West, and production of space, the novel raises a question to what degree are we a part of a certain space, or spaces, and how we coexist.

Apart from all this theory, ”Moon Palace” is a truly beautiful novel, whose every sentence has a strong echo. You’ll cry, you’ll laugh, you’ll be angry, you’ll be delighted. Like in life. Auster has this special voice that will take you anywhere he wants, to New York, to Central Park, to caves; you’ll run in the rain and freeze in the night, you’ll stare at the Moon and look at paintings. It’s a journey I warmly recommend to each and every one of you.

Watch out for details, and don’t think that one word may not be that important. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

Hugs,

Tatjana

 


”Ovde postoji samo u odnosu na tamo, ne obratno. Ovo postoji samo jer postoji ono; ako ne gledamo gore, nikad nećemo znati šta je dole. Razmisli o tome, dečko. Pronalazimo sebe samo kada sagledamo ono što nismo. Ne možeš da stojiš na zemlji ako nisi dotakao nebo.”

Dragi prijatelji,

nacrt ove objave sa usamljenim naslovom kao jedinim tekstom stajao je strpljivo kao prvi u nizu otvorenih prozora više od nedelju dana. Nisam još ni počela, a već imam spisateljsku blokadu. Kako zabavno.

Razlog ove blokade je to što je ovaj roman verovatno moj najdraži do sad. Ne najdraži Osterov. Najdraži uopšte. Znate kako to ide: ponekad smo toliko uzbuđeni oko nečega, i imamo toliko snažnu emocionalnu povezanost da ne možemo da počnemo da pričamo o tome. Zvuči poznato? Meni se to često dešava. Sećam se mnogih ispita i kako je trebalo da se priča o nekom delu sa profesionalne tačke gledišta, a ja ne bih mogla da se odvojim dovoljno da uspostavim tu neku distancu. Ali, ovo mogu da napravim onako kako želim. Naravno da hoću da ovo čitate sa uživanjem ali ipak — ovo nije ispit.

Uglavnom, prvo što sam čitala od Ostera bila je ”Njujorška trilogija”. Pročitala sam je za jedno popodne, delom zato što sam kasnila, ali većinom zato što me je toliko uvukao u svoj svet (a taj osećaj se ne gubi, što sam ubrzo shvatila). ”Mesečeva palata” je takođe bila deo silabusa, ali osećaj je bio i drugačiji i sličan. Kao kad vidiš prijatelja kog nisi video neko vreme, i promenio se, ali kao da znaš da je sada bolje, sa najlepšim osobinama koje su samo uvećane? Pročitala sam je u danu. Išla sam vozom i kucala poruku drugarici, i znam da sam napisala ‘‘kada čitaš Ostera to je kao da te je neko ogrnuo ćebetom, dao ti toplu šolju, zagrlio te i počeo da priča najneverovatnije priče dok ti osećaš da ti sva tenzija napušta telo”. To je ”Mesečeva palata” uradila za mene.

Ima nešto zanimljivo u vezi sa Osterom: može se čitati na nekoliko nivoa. Ne volim kad se ljudi osećaju nedovoljno obrazovanim, ili nedovoljno pripremljenim, ili šta god da uključuje ”nedovoljno” da bi čitali neku knjigu. Nedavno sam pričala s nekim na ovu temu i rastužilo me je da ljudi ponekad vide književnost kao nešto elitističko. Književnost postoji prvenstveno da bi se čitala. Analize, pretpostavke, kritike, to je posao. Ali čitanje nije. I nemojte nikad da se osećate kao da niste dovoljno dobri za neku knjigu (ili bilo šta, bilo šta drugo u životu). Tako da mi ljudi koji se bavimo književnošću zalazimo duboko i trudimo se da pronađemo skrivene delove u Osterovim delima, ali prava lepota njegovih priča je u tome što se mogu čitati kao samo to što jesu: priče. Divne, dirljive, srceparajuće, srcelečeće priče. Jedan moj profesor je jednom rekao da će prava književnost uvek naći načina da nam prenese ono što želi, nezavisno od toga koliko smo možda ‘pripremljeni’ za nju. Uzmimo Eliota za primer. Možemo da se nerviramo i da progutamo čitavu biblioteku da bismo odgonetnuli njegovu slagalicu, a možemo i samo da ga čitamo.

Dakle, ”Mesečeva palata”. Umem da odlutam na razne strane, što me je ranije koštalo dobrih ocena, ali vi možete samo da preskočite delove koji su vam dugi i dosadni, važi? ”Mesečeva palata” prati priču Marka Stenlija Foga, skraćeno MS Foga. Podebljala sam priču jer je to skraćenica za rukopis (MS – manuscript). Nismo li svi rukopisi? Marko je siroče koje živi sa ujakom do kasne adolescencije, a nakon ujakove smrti nasleđuje hiljadu četiristo devedeset dve (poznato?) knjige i instrument. On koristi kutije sa knjigama kao nameštaj, a zatim doslovno živi od čitanja — pročita knjigu pa je proda da bi preživeo. Kakva neverovatna alegorija.

E sad, ja neću da otkrijem previše, ali želim i da pričam. I to je teško. Pokušavam da nađem svoj glas — vrlo postmodernistički. Tako da ću ovu objavu da uradim na jedan način, a za posle, molim vas recite mi u komentarima da li da otkrivam više ili manje.

Sve u svemu, Marko nas vodi na trnovit put traženja svog identiteta, otkrivanja prošlosti svoje porodice, svoje lične prošlosti, i svoje budućnosti. Njegova priča se prepliće sa drugim pričama, i mislim da je ovo Osterov način da kaže da niko od nas ne može da pronađe svoj identitet bez shvatanja da je ukorenjen u identitetima drugih, njihovim životima i delima, a s druge strane znanja da zavisimo i od toga da provodimo vreme sami sa sobom. S obzirom na to da je jedna od glavnih tema mitološka moć Zapada i produkcija prostora, roman nas tera na razmišljanje u kolikoj meri smo deo prostora ili više njih, i kako međusobno postojimo.

Ako izuzmemo ovu silnu teoriju, ”Mesečeva palata” je istinski prelep roman, čija svaka rečenica glasno odjekuje. Plakaćete, smejaćete se, bićete ljuti, bićete oduševljeni. Kao i u životu. Oster ima svoj poseban glas koji će vas odvesti gde god on želi: u Njujork, u Central park, u pećine; trčaćete po kiši i smrzavati se u noći, zurićete u Mesec i gledati umetnička dela. To putovanje toplo preporučujem svima vama.

Pazite na detalje, i nemojte misliti da jedna reč možda i nije toliko važna. Ponekad je samo jedna dovoljna.

Grlim,

Tatjana

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