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Mount Analogue by René Daumal

Mount Analogue

by René Daumal

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Although it is an unfinished book (he died before he could complete it) it's a wonderful little piece. Predominately about the search for the "ultimate truth" in the guise of a far away mountain in the south pacific there are lots of wonderful little insights about human nature, religion and perceptions of "truth" throughout the book that make it really interesting. ( )
  KimMarie1 | May 6, 2014 |
It's a miracle that this book even exists. A book we were never meant to have, existing only in myth. A fever of a dream, but with all the details intact, specific, and so real. Like ending up in a dream without leaving the real world behind, both in terms of the trivialities of living as well as the logic that never approaches dream logic. An amalgamation of science, philosophy, myth, humor, and clear thinking, yes with the translucent, almost invisible, clarity of a 'paradam' that suddenly bends your thinking around its curvature. A 'paradam' shift. This book was already written from another world, no wonder Daumal died mid-sentence. No wonder! He was a dead man when he began, only gracing us with a few words from the other side. And how fitting! This story of a journey to the other side, a journey that never reaches its destination because its author, having reached it, cannot come back to tell us but a few details that might lead us there. An impossible journey. (Mount Analogue is analogous of itself, without ever being self-reflexive, without even knowing its antecedent). The unknown, like a dagger in the known, is deceptively accessible. Nevertheless, Daumal prepares the way, like the campers before him. In Daumal's world, the mystery of the unknown is more real than the reality of the world, so that our reality is but a dream within it. It's a transcendence into specificity. When we look back from the other world, we'll see but a vagueness reminiscent of lives half-lived in the fog that hovers in the foothills.

PS - reading some of the other reviews, I was a little annoyed that a few people had mentioned that this was surrealism. No it's not! People like to repeat what other people say without really evaluating it. Why would Daumal delve into surrealism when he can end up in the ideal territory of surrealism without ever leaving the real? That is what Daumal does, and that is why it is brilliant beyond anything I've ever imagined could be written. One logical step at a time, is how Daumal leads us up the mountain. ( )
  JimmyChanga | Sep 11, 2013 |
'The ice is near, the loneliness is terrible—but how serenely everything lies in the sunshine! How freely one can breathe! How much one feels lies beneath one!' ( )
  UnChatNoir | Apr 25, 2013 |
"The fire that kindles desire and illuminates thought never burned for more than a few seconds at a time; in between, we tried to keep it in mind." Daumal's unfinished novel is an allegory in homage to illumination and profound thought. It is a book about seeking and responsible open-mindedness. The vehicle for Daumal's consideration of intellectual liveliness (the actual plot of the story) can seem frivolous and distracting or a bit thinly veiled; but there is humor in it and a quick pace.

The "Tale of the bitter rose and the hollow men"--a mountain legend revealed to the seekers is particularly memorable; but is counterbalanced by some poor poetry and a flat creation myth. The books is worth reading. There is some wisdom in it. But it will frustrate most readers that it ends mid sentence, just when the real business of shedding light gets under way. One of the book's thought provoking positions: it is a crime to create a void that you do not try to fill. ( )
1 vote fieldnotes | Nov 11, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0877733813, Paperback)

A reissue of a twentieth-century classic in the acclaimed Tusk Ivories series A twentieth-century classic, Mount Analogue combines the author's poetic gifts and philosophical accomplishments in a manner that is both entertaining to read and profound to contemplate. The novel is a representation of the author's own spiritual quest, transposed into fictional form, and was published posthumously in 1952. This edition is newly translated by Carol Cosman, with an afterword by Vera Daumal. Among other things, this is an allegory for the journey of life, as well as a marvellous tale in which the narrator/author, one of an intrepid company of eight, sets sail in the yacht Impossible to search for Mount Analogue, the solid, geographically located, albeit hidden, peak that reaches inexorably towards heaven - as Mount Olympus reached to the home of the Greek gods, or Mount Sinai to the presence of Yahweh. Daumal, often described as one of the most gifted literary figures in twentieth century France, died before the novel was completed, providing an uncanny one-way quality to the journey that the reader cannot help but share.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:44 -0400)

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