Saturday, December 17, 2011

Return to the Isle of the Dead

Gerhard Meier’s Isle of the Dead connects the consciousness of death’s presence with the imperative to new seeing. The fragmented memory pictures that careen in a radical non-linearity throughout this little book attempt, as one of the characters says, “to grasp again and again the threads that bind one with what has passed away…and yet is present, not to be got rid of” (10). And in the last gleaming moment of the book, Bauer, who wants to write a novel, says, “Picasso is said to have once remarked to Malraux that you had to tear people out of their sleep, shake up the way they identify things, from the ground up. Had to create unacceptable pictures, make them fume. One must force them to see that they live in a crazy world. A world without security, a world that is not the way they thought it was”. “I want,” he continues, “to do it Picasso’s way” (102).

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