Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 2013
Genre Fiction
Origin UK
Publisher Coffee House Press
ISBN-10 1566893194
ISBN-13 978-1566893190
My Copy library paperback
First Read February 10, 2014


I don't know if this was really 'a stunning invocation of the intricacy of life' exactly - as the blurb says - but it was a tolerably interesting story wrapped up in a LOT of interesting writing and four TED talks worth of science. That all sounds pretty dismissive, but I liked it.

Noted on February 17, 2014

We cannot talk with definition about our souls, but it is certain that we decompose. Some dust of our bodies may end up in a horse, wasp, cockerel, frog, flower, or leaf, but for every one of these sensational assemblies there are a quintillion microorganisms. It is far likelier that the greater part of us will become protists than a skyscraping dormouse. What is likely is that sooner or later, carried in the wind and in rivers, or your graveyard engulfed in the sea, a portion of us will be given new life in the cracks, vents, or pools of molten sulphur on which the tonguefish skate.

You will be in Hades, the staying place of the spirits of the dead. You will be drowned in oblivion, the River Lethe, swallowing water to erase all memory. It will not be the nourishing womb you began your life in. It will be a submergence. You will take your place in the boiling-hot fissures, among the teeming hordes of nameless microorganisms that mimic no forms, because they are the foundation of all forms. In your reanimation you will be aware only that you are a fragment of what once was, and are no longer dead. Sometimes this will be an electric feeling, sometimes a sensation of the acid you eat, or the furnace under you. You will burgle and rape other cells in the dark for a seeming eternity, but nothing will come of it. Hades is evolved to the highest state of simplicity. It is stable. Whereas you are a tottering tower, so young in evolutionary terms, and addicted to consciousness.

Quoted on February 17, 2014

She had suffered from the divide in the English education system, which holds that scientists do not study Milton, and those who love Milton have no comprehension of Newton's gravity, which brought Lucifer tumbling from heaven. But she had recovered to become a voracious reader.

Quoted on February 17, 2014

...a plastic cup in a plastic wrapper. Who would drink that? Whereas in Africa there was always a bottle of water and a glass at the bedside, and there was often a hallway opening onto a garden, and there were swimming pools in the better hotels where you could swim to the moon at night, stopped only by the electric fence at the edge of the compound, and so you floated in the deep end above the mess of lights of an African city in the valley below--disordered clumps, wrongly beautiful, like the scan of a damaged brain.

Quoted on February 17, 2014

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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