With little or nothing to guide you, you take it for granted that you are the product of vast, prehistoric migrations, of conquests, rapes, and abductions, that the long and circuitous intersections of your ancestral horde have extended over many territories and kingdoms, for you are not the only person who has traveled, after all, tribes of human beings have been moving around the earth for tens of thousands of years, and who knows who begat whom begat whom begat whom begat whom begat whom to end up with your two parents begetting you in 1947?
Πολ Όστερ, Winter Journal
Από συνέντευξη με αφορμή την κυκλοφορία του βιβλίου (ολόκληρη εδώ):
You’d always had a sense about the randomness and instability of life, because at 14, you’re standing next to a friend who is struck and killed by lightning.
Yes, I think that’s probably the most important thing that happened to me as a young person. I think it changed my opinion about the world more radically than any other event that I ever lived through. And at the time of course you don’t really think about it but it’s something I keep dwelling on; I go back to it in my mind again and again, all the ramifications.
Chance and coincidence are two themes that you often come back to in your work. Could some of that have been born in that moment?
It’s possible. Listen, chance is an element of life. What I try to do is study what I call the mechanics of reality as carefully as I can. I have no ax to grind with it. I’m not sure I even have a position about it. I’m just saying, listen, what does the world look like? Well, chance is clearly a big element in everyone’s life. It’s not the only element. We have free will, we can decide what we want to do, we can make choices, we can have ambitions and goals and strive to get from A to B to C to D and know that we’re going to have to study eight years to become a doctor and it’s a lot of hard work
But then often as you’re on your road, whichever road you pick, something happens. You’re walking around and a tree falls in the road and you have to go into the woods to get around the tree. And you meet someone in the woods — or something else happens in the woods — that changes your course and you never quite get back on that road again. This is how I see life happening for people. And so I try to incorporate all these things and this way of thinking in the books that I write, but not insisting on it. Physically these things happen. You see, I think one of the problems with so-called realist fiction, which is the dominant aesthetic especially in America for a long time, in those books, the eccentricities of life are often eliminated for a kind of typological portrait of human beings. The weird and uncanny don’t play a part in it. And I think when people object to other kinds of writing, it’s because they’ve read so many of those books and they’re not looking at the world — because the world is a crazy place.
Sure, it’s realist writing that actually gives only the appearance of reality.
Yeah, you know, one day you wake up and planes are going into the World Trade Center. Not to speak of the very word “accident,” which has a philosophical meaning, too. You know, accident means “that which is not necessary to contingent fact,” and yet accidents sort of rule the world, don’t they? You fall down the stairs and break your leg and you can never walk well again. One second of your attention. I follow baseball and sports — but particularly baseball — and I’ve seen brilliant careers ruined by fluke injuries. Pete Reiser smashing into the wall in the mid-’40s, the most brilliant player of his generation.
[Αναγκαία σημείωση: Μεταξύ The Invention of Solitude και Winter Journal, επιλέξτε οπωσδήποτε το πρώτο.
Αναγκαία σημείωση #2: Κάπου πήρε το μάτι μου γραμμένο ότι το Winter Journal είναι μόλις το δεύτερο αυτοβιογραφικό βιβλίο του Όστερ μετά το Invention of Solitude, κάτι που δεν ισχύει. Υπάρχει ακόμα το Hand to Mouth, και φυσικά ένα μεγάλο μέρος των κειμένων που απαρτίζουν το Red Notebook είναι αυτοβιογραφικά.
Αναγκαία σημείωση #3: Κάποιος πρέπει να εκμεταλλευτεί τον κατάλογο όλων των προηγούμενων διευθύνσεων του Όστερ που υπάρχει στο βιβλίο και να κάνει ένα εικαστικό πρότζεκτ αλά Σοφί Καλ, ένι τέικερς;]