1775 Companions
43 Accompanied

What I am reading

this is the highly subjective way I read and interpret literature

(I mostly read classic belles-lettres, but you’ll find some examples of trashy readings here and there as well)

The Island of Dr. Morel

Morels Erfindung - Adolfo Bioy Casares, René Strien, Gisbert Haefs

The Invention of Morel was called many things – the first successful work of Adolfo Bioy Casares, an updated version of HG Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau (well, updated from a 1940’s standpoint), a great fable about the longing for immortality, a classic of modern fiction, and so on.

In short and without any spoilers: it is the story (presented in form of a diary) of a (I think nameless) man who was convicted to a life sentence, but who manages to escape and hides on a forlorn island to which no ship ever sails near, because it is said to be cursed with a deadly disease that kills everyone. One day, out of the blue, a group of people suddenly appear on said island (seemingly on a vacation trip), including Faustine, the woman with whom the protagonist quickly falls in love with and who he starts stalking. Consequently, he finds out why those people are behaving in the strange way they do, but I won’t spoiler anything.

I found it very hard to read. Syntax, lexis and in part punctuation (or the lack of punctuation to be exact) take a lot of fun out of it. To be fair, since no hablo español, I read the (not so new any more, but still newest) German translation and maybe the crazy syntax is a problem that stems from Haefs as translator rather than from the original text itself, but the problem is still there. I had to re-read some sentences or even whole paragraphs five to ten times, until I finally grasped their meaning (at least I think I did) and I still wonder why a great portion of this novel, the first 40 pages or so in particular, is verbalised in such a strange and unnecessarily cumbersome way.

Apart from that, the novel is quite exciting. I have read my fair share of let’s call it "adventure novels“ about people who arrive on a deserted island where weird stuff is happening and therefore I think the psychological analysis of the protagonist is done exceptionally well. The protagonist is a little thick-witted and indeed reminded me of Prendick in that matter, but his almost paranoid obsession with the group of people who arrive on "his" island makes sense and has great depth.

But very much like Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading I find the concept of The Invention of Morel way more intriguing than the novel itself.