OK, so the podcast about the literature of Lost is now online in its entirety, and hopefully is of some interest to Lost fans . . . We covered a ton of stuff in here: past books from the show, including The Third Policeman, The Invention of Morel, VALIS; my feeling that the best aesthetic lens through which to approach Lost can be found in The Crying of Lot 49; some info about international literature and Open Letter; and a final bit about Macedonio Fernandez’s The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel). All in all I had a great time talking with Jason and Matt and am now more psyched than ever for the season six premiere . . .
The story traces the journey of four Japanese tourists on a tour to India. Each of these tourists goes to India for different purposes and with different expectations. Even though the tour is interrupted when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by militant Sikhs, each of these tourists finds their own spiritual discovery on the banks of the Ganges River.
One of the tourists is Osamu Isobe. He is a middle-class manager whose wife has died of cancer. On her deathbed she asks him to look for her in a future reincarnation. His search takes him to India, even though he has doubts about reincarnation.
Kiguchi is haunted by war-time horrors in Burma and seeks to have some Buddhist rituals performed in India for the souls of his friends in the Japanese army as well as his enemies. He is also impressed by a foreign Christian volunteer who helped his sick friend deal with the tragic experiences during the war.
Numada has a deep love for animals ever since he was a child in Manchuria. He believes that a pet bird he owns has died in his place. He goes to India to visit the bird sanctuary there.
Mitsuko Naruse, after a failed marriage, realizes that she is a person incapable of love. She goes to India hoping to find the spiritual meaning of life. There her idea of life is challenged by the awaiting Otsu, a former schoolmate she once cruelly seduced and then left. Although he had a promising career as a Catholic priest, Otsu’s own idea of a pantheistic God and his criticism of the European view of God have led to his relegation by the Catholic Church. In his own way to imitate Jesus Christ, he helps carry dead Indians to the local crematoria so that their ashes can be spread to the waters of the Ganges. His efforts ultimately lead to his peril as he is caught in the anti-Sikh uproars in the country. Meanwhile, Mitsuko meets two nuns from the Missionaries of Charity and begins to understand Otsu’s idea of God.
A pilgrimage, spiritual journey, cancer, reincarnation, failed marriages . . . All so very Lost . . .
Also very Lost-like is this little tidbit about Endo that I forgot to mention during the recording:
When he died in 1996, only two novels were chosen to be placed inside his coffin. Deep River was one of them.
So by my estimation, we are only seven days and nine hours away from the start of season six . . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .