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After Esther, The Red Book is an experiment of literary experience comparable to David Foster Wallace's *Infinite Jest* or James Hogg's *The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner*. Written in an original style that splices together the genres of poetry, fiction, and philosophy, this eccentric work of meta-fiction, based mostly in Puerto Rico, weaves one story out of two. In the first story, the fictional translator of the second story, the zany but well-meaning Gustav Z. Itohahn, narrates his admiration for the fictional author of the second story, the mysterious poet-philosopher, Jorge Manuel Belmarez. Itohahn's life is turned inside out when Belmarez asks him to translate a novel he has written in Spanish, which he claims will introduce a new poetic philosophy of love. But Belmarez dies before they can complete the project, and Itohahn, now enthralled in the mystique of Belmarez and his philosophy of love, life, and literature, takes it upon himself to see the publication through. In the second story, Itohahn presents Belmarez's story of love and tragedy that parallels the affair the author's mother had with his uncle with his one-night rendezvous with a lady who realizes she has been wanting to leave her mediocre-minded fiancé for some time. Both stories dare to challenge every idea of love and marriage, from the vow "till death do we part" to the old courtly-love edict that "marriage is no proper defense against love." As Itohahn's tour of the second story comes to its tragic end, he tries his best to not only answer the daunting question of being in time, but to answer that question by answering the most intimate question ever asked about being in time: the question of being in love.After Esther, The Red Book is an effort to push the experience of reading a novel to its furthest extreme, towards that strange frontier where fiction and nonfiction merge in an illuminating originality of time and space. In parts, written in poetic verse, in other parts baroque prose, The Red Book can only be read as a gathering of provocative conversations and confidences. Composed of many allusive layers, it is not only a story about love, but a story that engages the most intimate questions raised regarding existence, identity, politics, religion, literature, art, language, and even music. It may somehow find itself in the memory of its readers as more than a difficult experiment in literature, but a daring experiment in challenging our deepest ideas and beliefs.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Collins I. Aki studied rhetoric and sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, and theology and philosophy at Vanderbilt Divinity School. His first short story, "A Withering Scar, a Pinstripe Suit, and 1,000 Judgements" was published in 34th and Parallel literary magazine. His scholarly papers are published on Vanderbilt.Academia.edu/CollinsAki. His miscellaneous articles on culture and politics can be found on the web. He currently teaches literature, language, and logic for an independent grade school in Nashville, Tennessee. You may reach him at MrCollinsIAki@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Collins_I_Aki.