daily preciousness

Saturday, May 08, 2004

sharing the famished road

I'm so happy. An email pal took my advice and bought Ben Okri's book, The Famished Road!

I told him, “Prepare to be swept away by his dream-like world. Upon reading this book, I took a walk in the park and MY IMPRESSION OF THE WORLD had been ALTERED.” This is my ultimate compliment to his work, because I believe if an artist can change your perspective of the world, he has succeeded in creating a true work of art.

Okri is a master of a new and exciting genre of fiction, called magical realism. No. I lie. It’s not a new genre. It is, in fact, the oldest type of story imaginable: the fantastical tale nestled comfortably within the everyday world.

I won't preface your reading anymore, except to say that his book was incredibly thought-provoking and magical to me. Some passages I read 3 or 4 times outloud, just to listen to the words being spoken. Excellent prose!

Additionally, most American and European readers will have the added benefit of hearing a voice from a very distant land. As you know, voices from faraway lands that shrink the great divide of culture a little b/c the protagonist, Azaro, will face some of the same problems that all little children face. (This would be a great book to compare to Paddy Clarke, ha ha ha by Irish author Roddy Doyle.)

As I mentioned earlier, I suggested Okri’s wonderful piece to one of my jblend viewers. This is his response:

*** *** ***

i had the most intense dream last night. it was about the famished road. i was in the book. and the author came to me, hugged me and i felt more love than ever before in my life. this is a very brief summary of the dream and i think it's because i had just finished a trippy part in the book that my dream was related to the book...i dont know. i woke up, wrote it all down, and went to sleep with my roommate cuz i was too jazzed up to sleep alone. in my dream i woke up, told my friends about the book (i thought the book was a dream) and then fell back asleep in my dream. from there, i went on more adventures and flew around my house with all my friends looking up at me.

*** *** ***

His message startled me. I had experienced a similar dream while I was reading the very same book. The memory of the dream leapt out at me, like a frog jumping onto a bare foot. This was my memory: I was a disembodied nothingness, less body than vapor. I flew over the lights of my small mountain town, feeling my essence rise in the nighttime fog. The air was crisp and moist as I slid through it like a tadpole through clear water. I saw the streetlamps and the barber's pole, the cars' headlights rising over hills and lumbering around corners.

Peace came over me. Lesser and lesser I cared about physical form. And then the blue-flamed tongue of fire surrounded me. But the color blue was more of an idea than a hue. I felt love more than I had ever experienced before. It was as if every previous happiness had been merely a minor preparation for the intense contentment and joy that was now coursing through my being.

I remember nothing more about the dream, but I know I was crying when I woke up. I was exhausted from the intense sensations and emotions.


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