Homo Irrealis audiobook
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Aciman treats memory and recollections as being neither static or fixed. These essays brought my own memories and made me revaluate the way I view them.
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This collection of essays by Andr Aciman is highly intriguing that I spent my entire weekend digesting his thoughts of the irrealis form of thinking that most of us possess, and sometimes we express unconsciously.
In linguistics, irrealis moods are the set of grammatical moods that indicate that something is not actually the case or that a certain situation or action is not known to have happened at the moment the speaker is talking. (Loc. 45)
What the author transcribes as irrealis is how we often think in the form of what should we have done and the kind of longing for the alternate universe that might accompany us were we put that choice up instead of the choice that we finally ended up making. There are many ways irrealis moods could influence us, and its the authors gift for having lived in various places around the globe, reading many classical books, as well as watching countless films that enable this thought to transpire in him. It all begins in his quest of searching for the real Alexandria, the place which rejected him due to his Jewish heritage, and the fact that he longed for that Alexandria which never was by the time he moved to Rome.
The irrealis mood knows no boundaries between what is and what isnt, between what happened and what wont. In more ways than one, the essays about the artists, writers, and great minds gathered in this volume may have nothing to do with who I am, or who they were, and my reading of them may be entirely erroneous. But I misread them the better to read myself. (Loc. 130)
From the start of the volume, the author has warned the readers about the implications of reading through the lens of irrealis mood. What we call reality, experience, or senses, they might as well disappear in face of the irrealis mood. And theres no better way to get in touch with irrealis mood besides facing it inside works of art. In this volume besides from his own personal experiences, the author also provides us to the irrealis mood that he “thinks present inside Freuds sojourn to Rome, three French New Wave films directed by Eric Rohmer (My Night at Mauds, Claires Knee and Chloe in the Afternoon), paintings by the Impressionists, as well as Prousts novel. His reading through those works never failed to impress me on how the irrealis mood is pretty much present in many art forms.
By the time I reached the last essay, it gives me an impression that we as humans have never truly lived in the present. There are many ways we reject reality by thinking of what could possibly happen if and present ourselves with so many alternative cases. And thats why we ended up inventing words such as ‘remorse’ and ‘regret’ to cope up with the daunting irrealis mood. Much more so, Andr Aciman uses many of his personal experiences that seem at times coherent with my own in the way that I interpret them as so. Perhaps we all have become slaves to probability.
This volume will be really engaging if you are a fan of art and literary essays, and have a general understanding of New Wave French cinema which occupies almost half of the volume. Through this volume, the author takes me into a journey to see that our lives might have been guided through so many random occurrences and serendipities more than what we realise.
Audiobook Homo Irrealis by André Aciman
“I’m the gap between what I am and what I am not.”
If a book begins with a Fernando Pessoa quote like Mr. Aciman did, count on it being a work of pure literary virtuosity.
This quote embodies the entire scope of the book in one single sound bite and one can even argue: of our entire subjective existence.
One need only peer at the Table of Contents to see what they’re embroiling themselves into:
Freud, Cavafy, W.G. Sebald, John Sloan, Eric Rohmer, Dostoyevsky, Marcel Proust, Beethoven, Corot, & Fernando Pessoa not to mention the slew of other artists, thinkers, and geniuses of history, along with Mr. Aciman’s personal anecdotes, all intertwined throughout the essays in a structurally-finessed Rohmerian design.
Thank you Mr. Aciman for once telling me to “immediately buy” and read Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet, and also for writing a book about an impossible, abstract concept “…that never happened but isn’t unreal for not happening and might still happen, though we fear it never will and sometimes wish it won’t happen or not quite yet.”
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