A book review of sorts –

A “Book Review” – complements The Whole Hurly-Burly

Vila-Matas - Dublinesque


By Enrique Vila-Matas

            We are able to “keep up appearances” – some habitual collage of identities – for quite a long time.

I don’t have ANYthing to say, to speak of, when I encounter – READ – the work of a great writer / a great written work [or writerS – the book above is in translation, and that by two others].  Alas.

Broken.  Spellbound.  With nothing to add, say, profess, testify – unable to stop speaking.

: Literature, no?

The frozen sea within me (fraud, image, appearance, presentation, mis-representation) AXED?

It feels that way: like being stumped in a crucial interview by a question one never expected – exposed – somewhere beyond your bones – on into some uncanny…

Like that.

So I read, with the feeling of partaking of fine food outstripping my station.  So tasteful, delicious and exquisite that the experience teeters at throw-up or orgasm…nearly too much pleasure…too much exposure…too much experience.

And the concomitant deflation, flattened, realizing that I am none of something, perhaps too many of somethings,

disordered, disorganized, confused.


Vulnerable and laid bare – with nothing showing.

I am not that

Frightening (terrifying even, at some level) and freeing (or, unknown, unpredictable, possible).

Potential, unlikely, impossible to prove or ascertain – uncertainty – unknowable

to my ‘self’ in my body, as a name, or a father, a partner, a person, a friend.

A cipher.  Undeserving of accolades or attributions, unaware of facts or characteristics –

just a long train of habits,

histories, perceptions and behaviors.  A long, long trail of showing up…taking space…acting…AS.

With nothing else: not more-than or without, not subterfuge or false, no accomplishments or occurrences in lieu of AS.

The residue of NOTHING.

Bereft then, but not of substance.  Empty, but not of force.  Simply laid bare, examined, investigated…

…and found wanting.

I stare.

There are things I can perform, ways I interact, roles fulfilled, tasks achieved, conversations replete with reactions and response,

but that is all.

I have a shape, I’ve garnered knowledge, mastered speech and comprehension, can use my cock, can analyze, interpret and produce.  Can keep alive and support others, draft language and record.  Able to run, walk, sit, stand.  To do, make, say and think.  In other words – TO BE – and be HUMAN (passably), but undefined, unqualified, ephemerally labeled, nothing “sticking,” “fitted,” by which I might be “called.”

Just a human lacking content, wriggling survival as a beast.  An educated beast.  And unwitting, unaware and unforeseen.

AN EMPTY ‘I’.  (Replace with senses – it means the same).  A processing thing, operative organism – a complex or compound of certain circumstances, situations, affordances, of contexts.  But nothing special, just unique.  An additional example of a being.

Being false.  In sense of veiled, covered over, costumed and behaved.  Or misbehaved, rankly naked, shown-up short, struggling by.

It doesn’t matter as a seem or even category, division, or multi-ply.  Can’t reach zero, can’t be counted, a kind of circumstance of pi.  A virtual reality that’s not quite real, not loved quite right to rub it so.

A becoming, misshapen, and clumsily adorned, fooling-no-one.  There is no one.  Only you.  Me.  Us.

“an unleashing of erroneous energy”

Derivative and fake.  A mistake, mistake uncalled-for and unnecessary, and untoward.  A simple “me.”  Empty.  Formed.

An empty ‘I’ inside myself (shelf, shell).

In any order, or, perhaps,

on shuffle


"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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