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 . . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .