This debut philosophical miscellany includes story fragments, a film treatment, poems, a two-act play, and letters to the editor.
Presented without any framing material, this hodgepodge becomes tough to decipher. Several themes do become apparent: fulmination against society’s restrictions; a writer called Terrence F. Hill; a mysterious figure, Godot-like, called Marcel; the nature of art, spirituality, and sanity. The book begins with a one-page episode centered on an unnamed man, head of the Rangoon police force and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, who uses his acceptance speech to say that he’s being called a great man only after he learned to hate. Next is an epistolary chapter in which Hill, author of novels including The Heart of a Poet, complains of being persecuted “in the thoughts of the devil, or evil, upon all God or nature would allow to receive the thoughts.” (This book exists, and Love’s work quotes from it, but the author never directly identifies himself with Hill.) Next is a film treatment in which a priest blames himself for not rebelling as a boy and bemoans his “tired heart”: “I feel like I’ve been dragging a wounded soldier along with me most of my life. He begged me to leave him behind—but I wouldn’t.” This image does have power, but Love weakens it through explanation: “The wounded soldier stands for the values of the family—and the laws and values that are the foundation of civilization.” A play follows, much in the vein of French absurdists (the author insists otherwise), with some effective dialogue among the confusion: “He lived in a - 30 - Cent - Bus - Ticket—Reality (Pauses) A rider in life, who stayed on the same vehicle and never had to upgrade his fare; he thought he stood on the stilting songs of life.” The film treatment starring the conflicted priest is repeated verbatim; other pieces follow, some looping back to earlier concerns, others seeming quite random, like a medical report in French. The book needs a strong editor to fix distracting errors of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation (for example, “André Sakorov the soviet dissedent wrote at essay in 1958, that was published around the world and was a sensation”).
A collection of diverse literary offerings that lacks a coherent structure.