Friday, July 06, 2012
The lot of critics is to be remembered by what they failed to understand.
Detail. An Awfully Beautiful Place: The Antarctic Art Of Stephen Eastaugh. The Carnegie Gallery, Argyle Street. June 2012.
One review for you today, An Imaginary Life by David Malouf imagines the story of the Roman poet Ovid, during his exile in Tomis (in modern day Romania).
This one reminds me very much of J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians. Like Coetzee, Molouf has a post-colonialist sensibility. The central tension in An Imaginary Life is found in the relationship between the civilised cosmopolitan Ovid, the barbaric local tribe, and a wild child who has grown in a state of nature. The clash between the ‘cultured’ and uncivilised really is at the heart of this dreamlike tale.
The narrative moves beautifully and seamlessly along, conjuring up a timeless, haunting mood that could as easily be two thousand years into the future as it is two thousand years ago. There are some big questions here what is the meaning of life? What is the distinction between instinct and conscious thought and purpose?
This is a very meditative, beautiful book. Highly recommended.
The full piece. An Awfully Beautiful Place: The Antarctic Art Of Stephen Eastaugh. The Carnegie Gallery, Argyle Street. June 2012.