Monday, March 2, 2009

Review: The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares

About the Book: Set on a mysterious island, Bioy's novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious. (Appears in the season four episode Eggtown of LOST)

My Review: I love that summary because it pretty much tells you nothing about the book! :) Or rather the novella. But let me tell you this is a very enjoyable little read. Enough so that even though I finished it rather quickly, I've still been thinking about it afterwards. It's the kind of read that's slightly unsettling and not with a lot of closure.

Our narrator is on an island by himself, hiding from the police. He isn't totally clear about where the island is, it seems there were people there previously who built some things on the island and then either disappeared or were killed by a sickness. He is trying to stay alive on the island and not succumb to any illnesses, when out of nowhere some people show up.

About the same time these people show up, our narrator observes other changes taking place on the island. For example, there are two suns. (he sometimes feels all the strange things he is experiencing is a result of his brain being fried) He also notices there is a very beautiful woman in the group and he falls in love with her even though they never speak.

What's going on on the island? Who are these people? Are they part of a plot from the police? Are they all really in an insane asylum? Maybe the island is actually purgatory. These are the theories considered before the very interesting revelation about what is truly going on on the island is revealed. I really enjoyed this little mysterious novella...I kept turning the pages wondering what was going on and as I said before I've been pondering it since.

Relationship to LOST
Where do I start? First of all with the obvious....the setting is a mysterious island in an unknown location. While our narrator is there, mysterious people show up. There is evidence of others having lived on the island before (the museum, swimming pool etc. like the Dharma stations) When pondering what is going on on the island he considers many theories fans have considered for LOST (insane asylum, purgatory, and aliens.) There's a huge collection of books left on the island. There is also a time element but I don't want to go too much into that for fear of spoiling the book. But perhaps what struck me more than anything was the following quote. I heard Darlton say that this year, instead of asking who is dead? We should be asking what does dead mean?

"I believe we lose immortality because we have not conquered our opposition to death; we keep insisting on the primary, rudimentary idea: that the whole body should be kept alive. We should seek to preserve only the part that has to do with consciousness."

I never would have heard of The Invention of Morel if I didn't watch LOST. So the goal of exposing people to cool books has been successful. I really enjoyed this one. You can buy it here.
Rating: 4/5



Nymeth said...

I love going into a book knowing nothing, or next to nothing, about the story. This definitely sounds like an intriguing novella!

S. Krishna said...

This book sounds really interesting, especially with its LOST parallels! I'm definitely adding it to my TBR list.

Jenny Girl said...

This sounds like a great little book. And so similiar to LOST too. Nothing like a good mystery.

StuckInABook said...

Just reviewing this myself, hope you don't mind that I'm linking to this! I was lucky to find it, entirely by coincidence, since I've never seen Lost.

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