Book Review

I Is Another by Jon Fosse (Septology III – V)

an excellent novel (& a guest cat in the pic!!!)

July 29th, 2022, drinking an iced coffee on a bench in Covent Garden

What changed?

Does expectation and anticipation change the way one feels about a text?

Is the increasing misery I’m feeling in my own reality more in sync with the slow melancholia of Jon Fosse’s vision and thus altering the way it which it affects me?

I found the second installment of Jon Fosse’s Septology (published in three books rather than the more satisfying seven or one) beautiful, unexpectedly so.

The content and the form here is exactly the same as in the first volume, but this time, rather than leaving me feeling underwhelmed, frustrated and a little – dare I say it – bored, I found this volume to be enrapturing, heartbreaking, woefully tragic and deeply upsetting.

I mean, I’m already pretty upset – my real disinterest in being here (London, England, alive) is eroding my mental health. I left here for a reason, for many reasons. Running away is a legitimate, natural, response to danger. I don’t think I’m safe here – fuck, I don’t want to be safe here. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be surrounded by places that function as a reminder of when I was more alive, a reminder of when I had hope.

Fosse’s novel is about this, too.

How memory haunts, how nostalgia for lost happiness is as painful as the unforgettable shame of regret. Of ageing and losing the self, of never quite being sure when – if – you ever are or ever have been the person you wanted to, tried to, believed yourself to be.

Life’s a fucking mess and a waste of everyone’s time.

I’m going to go wander round the National Gallery and see if anything in there makes me feel something.

Maybe I’ll do some ekphrasis.

People seem to like that crap.

///

Addendum from Trafalgar Square: Actually, wait, no I won’t go the gallery. There’s a fucking queue to get in. Fuck that, I’m heading back to Tottenham.

So, yes, to reiterate, Septology is good, actually. (This volume, as the first, is translated by Damion Searls)

Order direct from Fitzcarraldo Editions via this link.

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