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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
  1. $11.20 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

    Sherwood Nation

    Benjamin Parzybok 9781618730862

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Cheshires Meow has commented on (1) product.

Hopscotch (Pantheon Modern Writers) by Julio Cortazar
Hopscotch (Pantheon Modern Writers)

Cheshires Meow, August 27, 2012

An experimental novel, which, truthfully, is as boring as reading a book on the history of philosophy. For the average reader, the book's value is in the postmodern discussions, the insider view of intellectual Paris in the 1950's, and deciphering it chapter by chapter. I found Wikipedia and Google to be my best friends in the reading of the novel because I needed to look up the literally hundreds of famous intellectuals, artists and philosophers that the author name-drops. I think every reader who finishes it can proudly give themselves several merit badges for an accomplishment many will applaud, and others will think you as mad as a postmodern philosopher

It's a very famous book few actually read except as a challenge. It is worth it. It's most famous attribute is that it is two novels - in one version, you can read it from chapter 1 to chapter 56 in order. The rest of the book, with chapters numbered 57 to 155 for convenience, are actually 'extra', not necessary, chapters, paraphrasing the author, which the author recommends reading in a certain, numerical order that is not consecutive along with the first 56 chapters again. In doing so, some depth is added and the ending is changed to a small degree. But he also says the reader can also choose to read the chapters in any order you want. The result is a lot of flipping back and forth, 'hopscotching'. The chapters are printed at the top of the pages, so it's not as difficult as it sounds to hopscotch.

What I think it's about: the 'hero' (not really) Oliveira wants a reality that makes abstract sense, but instead keeps coming up against a reality that is stitched together in moments of time that has no sense or reason except what the mind mediates from the information, and he keeps rotating around the circumference of his mental circle (and milieu, and circus, and insane asylum) trying to grasp it, while the women (muses) are there already, in the center, where Oliveira thinks he wants to reach, on his good days. Despite his efforts, he feels he cannot bridge the gap between reality and himself, for 564 pages. In confronting death, twice, the postmodern philosophies do not sustain him, but he is unable to 'be' in the world to save his life, so to speak.

In the end, it's a comical book, full of sly jokes and intellectual nonsense (in my opinion). I think from reading between the lines that the author may once have believed postmodern thought of value, but later, not so much. While I think it's a joke novel, it is not written in the manner of a comedy, but rather as a deadly serious literary fiction.

You can decide for yourself what it's about, naturally.
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