There are two distinct groups of people in the world: the ones who tell stories, and those who pay attention. People have been confabulating tales ever since we grasped the ability to communicate. In today’s popular culture, there is only a small amount of people who can compete with Stephen King. Over the past forty-years, he has set a high standard when it comes to storytelling.
Most adults would forget their nightmares. He doesn’t, and normally writes every detail of it. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is the compilation of all of those eerie narratives. From a husband who cannot accept his wife’s death, to a journalist whose fictional writings immediately become reality.
These ideas, however, are not always well executed. While the prose is competent, some of the universes created in these stories fell underwhelming. In tales such as “Under The Weather”, “Morality” or even “Afterlife”, there is a blatant attempt to deliver a higher message, as we witness the unravel of King’s new façade: not only does he want to entertain, he wants to make the reader think beyond. Ironically, this is where the book reveals its weaknesses.
Despite these minor inconsistencies, every story in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is competent at entertaining. The narratives engulf the reader in King’s universe, making the reader forget about reality for a few minutes. After all, this is all it matters. It is the purported goal of fiction, isn’t it?
It has not been many years since we grasped the idea that humans can understand the laws that govern the universe. This immense accomplishment was only made possible due to the actions of many ingenious scientific minds. Richard Dawkins might be considered one of those brilliant individuals.Indeed, one of the precepts of his book is to address the numerous quarrels sparkled by “creationists” regarding the ideas proposed by Charles Darwin, 150 years ago.
During its genesis, the theory of evolution was just a coherent hypothesis elaborated by a great scientist. Today, the advent of many other branches of knowledge – namely genetics – the theory has become undeniable fact. It becomes obvious, then, that the goal of the book is not to persuade the reader to believe in evolution, but to enlighten about the evidence for such assumptions.
As a staunch supporter of reason and critical thinking, his purported goal with this book might be to attack the unenlightened “creationists”. Although some of these individuals are perfectly aware of the overwhelming evidence, they still fervently deny it. Some are obdurate and blinded by faith, others are just perfectly reasonable people who suspend their logic to support the religious texts, who argue otherwise.
Above all else, “The Greatest Show on Earth” is an eclectic, beautiful journey through the captivating world of empirical biology. Elegant in style, yet perfectly understandable, this book instills within the reader fundamental basis of the scientific method, the pillar of unrestricted critical thinking.
In Huxley’s universe, no idea was too onerous to be written on paper. Throughout a long and successful career as a novelist, he always tried to guarantee his narratives contained the necessary substance to be considered intemporal.
Crome Yellow” – his first attempt at fiction writing – feels underwhelming in comparison. It is understandable. Released on the verge of what came to be known as “The Roaring Twenties” – an epoch of particular economic and technological prosperity – the novel denounces all of the cynicism imbued in that particular era and, although Huxley seems to struggle with the development of certain components of storytelling such as character development, he is guilty of excelling at language. Huxley bestows the reader with erudite, yet understandable prose, capable of inciting an intense amount of pleasure to people who admire and obsess about the infinitude of words.
The author’s ideas, vociferated by Dennis – the protagonist of this story- might sound contemporary for their brilliance and poignancy, but still resonate of a classic era. In “Crome Yellow” Huxley’s modern façet still dormant, yet the mentality-shift that occurred in him and many of his contemporaries, during that period is still entertaining to observe.
There’s a reason why some readers abstain themselves from classical literature. The English Language might have changed very little since Shakespeare graced it with his genius, yet the way we communicate – such as the meaning and the manner in which the writer construct sentences – has been significantly altered. The peculiarity of Oscar Wilde might reside in the prose he so eloquently produces: vibrantly rich text that is capable of being understood by the modern Man.
In the Picture of Dorian Gray”, every single aspect of the narrative resonates profoundly with its reader: from the love story between Gray and his enamored seventeen-year-old girl, to the preternatural dialogues between Basil and his muse. Even at its elitist core, the book can only be condoned of presenting itself as a poignant endeavor into the human condition – eternal at its essence.
Stephen Fry, a prominent intellectual and public figure in Britain, once defined Oscar Wilde as one of the very few Lords of the English language. Having explored the world of “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, I can only concur to such brilliant observation. His prescience and clairvoyance might be something necessary in every artist, if his ultimate goal is to convey a message that perseveres the raucous test of time.
“Awakenings” by Oliver Sacks might be regarded as one of the most poetic stories ever told. When brought to the corporate Hollywood screens, it caused an enormous impact on its audience, propelling the author’s name into the luminous aura of mainstream culture and in itself, “The Island of the Colorblind” serves as the logic continuation of the literary brilliance found in his previous works.
In it, the renowned neurologist recounts his experiences during his summer visit to the Pacific Ocean archipelago of the Micronesia. In some of these small islands, genetically transmitted diseases proliferate due to the isolation of such locales. As a result, the same maladies recur throughout subsequent generations of individuals. There are societies where colorblindness is the norm, and there are population where strange neurologic syndromes resembling Parkinsonism strike many individuals. Both of these intriguing cases are all meticulously described by Sacks, that reveals his emotion through his accounts. As a result, he surfaces as a very empathetically humanistic scientist.
But the book is more than a scientific analysis on such terrible diseases. It is a thorough exploitation of the author’s literary resources. Sacks possesses the unique ability to write about reality in such whimsical terms. Metaphors and adjectives prevail amongst his descriptions of nature and of the human condition, a writing ability so profound and authentic to the reader’s mind that after he finishes reading the book, all he wants to do is meet Oliver Sacks in the flesh.
Whatever the precise definition of the “novel” concept might be, it certainly does not hold “Island” as its epitome. It is comprehensible.
After the release of the acclaimed dystopia known as “Brave New World”, Huxley’s name became forever imprinted into the respectable hall of fame of science fiction writing, which might have hindered his prospects into finding other ways to convey his own opinions. In “Island”, the reader is overcome with the feeling that he might have been coerced into masquerading the book’s message as a “novel”. Despite it, the book reveals tremendous intellectual achievement, and it is efficient in attaining its ultimate goal: to cogently spread an alternative approach to the entire scheme of contemporary life.
In order to accomplish this monstrous task, Huxley utilizes his immense knowledge on the fields of oriental philosophy. He creates the character of Wll Farnaby, a journalist from an England newspaper, and sends him on his way to Pala, an isolated island over the coast of Asia, on a journey is one of discovery and enlightenment. Once in there, he finds the natives friendly and surprisingly hospitable. Their purpose is to edify his perceptions, and change his true nature. Together, the palanese (Huxley himself) attempt to imprint within his mind their own interpretation of reality.
Huxley’s tale about a utopian society based in oriental philosophy is not a fictional narrative in its traditional sense. It is, instead, a brilliant, creative, and mind warping essay about the current state of occidental civilization.
Do not kid yourself. Orwell’s novel about the consequences of living in poverty is not fiction. This might sound like a paradox, a very strange oxymoron, but it isn’t. And I’ll explain why.
This is the “made-up” story of an English writer who goes to France. Once there, he is faced with a sudden lack of wealth income. Living with almost no money, he finds it is imperative to find work. After weeks without a job, a job at an expensive Hotel in Paris surfaces when he meets a friend who tells him about it. Working as a Plonguer (in French, “dishwasher”) in the underground caves of the Hotel’s kitchen, he becomes submerged in drudgery.
In 1929, Paris was far from a paradise city, as some like to conceive it. It was a slum filled with vagrancy and indecency, masqueraded by a veneer of pomposity and luxury. Orwell wants to make sure the reader grasps this point of view.
The plotting of the book is a mere pretext for Orwell. In truth, he tries to explore the narrative as a dissertation mechanism. The book’s genius resides in its accurate, vivid description of humanity. In it, the reader is faced with a disturbing series of first-person accounts of what it was like to be deprived of money in a society that depends upon it.
Known for his pertinent essays, George Orwell cannot write novels that feed themselves solely on escapism. The subject matter of his stories often serve as subtle ploys. All he desires to do is make people think about the world in which they are so idly involved. It concerns itself with tickling one’s conscience.