|About the Book|
Mr Kawataba,Today you know well what death is, so you are better able than anyone else to understand what I am saying: after every lapse into unconsciousness, I would open my eyes for the first time in history. Perhaps the same thing didnt happen to you, since I believe you closed your eyelids once only. And remained like that.He remembers everything. A life flashed before his eyes in the unseeing gaze of another him. If you lost your body mass to the forces of time, a geological phenomena in the sped up time of your body hitting the pavement from heavens skyscrapers. I saw it all and I want to rewrite it with the big red editors pen in the sky. This other him is his enemy. Baby powder skin, knees that will never scab in prayers questions. Your feet will not leave foot prints where he stands.His body is rescued with the corpses from an accident, an incident, a disturbance, aka history. Whatever it is they are calling the wrong place and time these days. The women mourn their sons deaths. Theres an extra coffin so he could get inside one and let someone else live. The other him, the above him, or this guy who is just any other asshole. Why not him, instead? If he could, he would, or so he says. Maybe hed be like the son of his God and die for everyone else. I have felt that too. I have wished to help carry their weight in a closer way, out of helplessness in my soul. But hes not like Christ either, he doesnt love them or see them in purifying love. I couldnt love everyone and I feel where it isnt. There might be a me on every street corner to look back in blind what have you ever done too. He can kill me a little when he feels like that too. But then he says its not up to him, its all inevitable, doesnt matter. He says what goes around comes around.He says, Dear Mr Kawabata. I am telling you these things because.... He says it in the way that he might like a reply but hes talking a dead guy, so maybe he will only look for blind guys in his future. I dont know if he learned anything as he fell to Earth. (He also says that its been said this flash vision only happens to drowning men. I remember this again but I cant remember which book. I guess if I looked over all my reviews Id find it but theres no way Im doing that torture. Anyway, it was said in some book about peace of drowning men. That when you give up on the struggle you are no longer cold. It was better than this in the book. I like it better falling but drowning has that decision to stop fighting thats interesting for the ability to see.)We went before them. But in this sense no one goes before anyone. It is the oldest honour. I know that in Japan you have a very ancient custom of redemption and self-sacrifice.He says what goes around comes around and it is the no one is a winner, a loser but just a dead stranger war. His peasant neighbor spills blood on the geography lesson from younger Rashids school days. The red spots denote lands given to na na na I cant hear you. (It is sad when a local peasant causes the death of a kid geography student because this kid going to school apparently robs him of his lifes meaning. I see this as just bat shit craziness and a tragedy, not a point in argument.) Father and mother are distant to what he brings home from every day. I didnt understand how the Earth being round questioned a belief in God (it was all of the adults). It didnt anywhere else in the round world. Why the Lebanon of his youth? Why did they need permission? This was what I asked myself repeatedly while reading Dear Mr Kawabata. I had this feeling not of a man confronted with his untouched self. Did he write to Yasanuri Kawabata because as a man of suicide he would understand wiping the blade clean? The contradictory nature (one page he would say that Lebanon suffered as it produced tragedies being too beautiful to extinguish its desires only to say a few pages later that he didnt believe in a conspiracy of history to one place) felt to me the restlessness of a person who doesnt want to be alone in their convictions. I didnt get a sense of loneliness as much as the fervor of the devout. I wonder if they get hungry for reassurance that their path is right and this is why others must share their beliefs.Rashid is a communist. For every time he speaks of the glory of the party and comrades he is not generous with his eyes that remember everything, see all (at one point he goes into great detail of his own birth, claiming that he remembers it all with perfect clarity. Bullshit). He will purchase a prostitute. I dont believe these women were the property they were written to be. On the edges of his ego I see that his brothers and sister do not get to attend school as he does. He has an Aunt who moves into a room built on the top of their house. What will her life be like when her support, her brother, dies? Shes not even mentioned when this death happens. His comrades also have women in their family who remain under their feet.Much of the book is a little boy holding onto his mothers hand. Does she have her own face or is she only a hand to hold? He is aware that his mother loves another man. A clean man (and ahem if they had succeeded with their communism there would still be the dirty working poor versus the clean in cushy authoritative jobs. He will bitterly ask about how the West portrays them yet is just as ignorant of the realities of those who lived in the USSR). To Rashid she loves her son only if she does not kiss the son of the other man. He finds daily reassurance in the relationship between his parents, as proof of his father if hes only an extension of himself. This is the childs memory but not that of the all-seeing eye. They are not people outside of what they can do for him.I said then: These peoples stomachs churn at the sight of blood, and they proclaim their love. But the tons of misery must not be weighed.What I meant, Mr Kawabata, was that these people who preach love but whose hearts are nauseated and revolted by killing, these people dont want to see the misery in which the vast majority of mankind live, weighed down by its burden, and dont want to take it into account. I nearly said into the eye of the account!I think thats purchasing something with someone else. After all, hes not fighting himself. If you can talk about the cause but it is someone else dying you arent different than those who are against war for any reason.He writes to Mr Kawabata as if he is the only one who will understand. No other Arabs, no one.His mother will remind him of a scene from his favorite Bertolt Brecht play when she responds to his proclamations of the shape of the Earth with:So we spend our lives on a pebble, then, on a pebble turning among other pebbles, too many to be counted, in an infinite universe! Whats got into that fine brain of yours? Were a round object lost among a lot of other round objects, lost in the universe! Have some sense! So were not under Gods eyes now?Okay, so the Kawabata part. His novels are not mentioned except the once when he states a mission to accomplish of writing about the age through describing an ordinary event. I dont know. The repetitiveness of the world is round argument felt more manipulative to distract the reader into the hopelessness of seeing eye to eye missive. Really, if you can believe what you believe why is it in danger if someone believes something else? I also didnt see how Kawabatas suicide (well, why not Yukio Mishima? His ritualistic and very public suicide seems to fit Rashid much more) made him the only one who understood unless it was that he couldnt read or reply to the letter that he was the preferred audience. But the hatred for his other self, the one who could sleep easily at night, spoke of something else and I dont think it was what he kept saying it was. This book was kind of a pain in the ass for all of that. You know how you talk to someone who lists to you all of their qualities all of the time? Maybe something that obviously isnt true, like Im really laid back or Im always honest? It could be they believe these things about themselves or they have some kind of an agenda in selling you some version of themselves. The selling feeling makes you feel not as a person but an audience. Dear Mr Kawabata had a lot of feeling of THAT kind of confessional and it all goes back to why do you need anyone elses permission? Is there anything that will satisfy you? It seems to me in these blood soaked histories that they have long memories that are born again in the minds of others. If there could be a way to rewrite history would they then forget or would they look for an untouched person to hate on the street as Rashid does? I wished he had written out of a need to understand others as well as a need for himself to be understood (as he wanted, not as own eyes). This wasnt something you are alone in.Kawabata wrote my favorite novel The Sound of the Mountain that spoke to me about this life lived with others. When you were a let down to those close to you, a too late history of what you never had the courage to say, or eyes to see. And when you were still a person that could be redeemed in open or new eyes. What did it look like when you were going to die and you had lived your life all alone. What would it feel like if you really listened to the sound. What did it look like to others when you were deaf to them. Time ends and goes on in his story. I thought it one of the most beautiful stories Ive ever read. I know that he talks to Kawabata in this book but I wish that he had taken to heart how Kawabata spoke to others instead. Is he that different than the man he despises who will only see what he wants to see if will talk to others not as someone you live with but as someone to say it was all too late. And not to say how you felt about it. But that it was too late, because this is how it is to Arabs. And no one else can understand, not other Arabs. Just him. If people live in the world as you do then how can you believe that no one will understand but you? (And Rashid is freaking annoying all of the times he pats himself on the back for being the only one who can understand stuff. Jeez Louise.) It may be he was making a point about people who live on pedestal mountains and can not come down again. But it was tedious as hell to read most of the time (some of his lines are absolutely killer, though). I dont really like points as much as feeling like people have lives of their owns with or without me. If I get to know them Im damned lucky. No soap boxes, please.P.s. Oh, thank goodness I finished reading this. Ive had Human Leagues The Lebanon stuck in my head. ...when the soldiers have gone!....with the Lebanon! THE LEBANON! on repeat. I cant remember how the whole song goes so pretty much this refrain in my head on hellish repeat. No more!