Friday, January 29, 2016

Book72- The Death of Artemio Cruz (108th Book)

This challenge is getting increasingly harder to plow through. I have really struggled with the last two novels on this list and wanted to give up. I WILL persevere  however because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Although I still have two and a half  more years to go on the challenge if I only read a book off the list a month, the books at the tail end of the challenge look fun and a joy to read!

The Death of Artemio Cruz on the other hand was really NOT fun even if it was a cool concept for a book. Artemio Cruz is a man who lies dying in bed. Between moments of lucidity he remembers various turning points in his life where he made choices that changed the direction of his life. The flashbacks are not chronologically ordered so it becomes a bit of a puzzle to piece together what goes where. For the most part, after thinking through everything I was able to figure out what went where.

This is a piece of modernist fiction however, and although I enjoy James Joyce, even though he is REALLY hard to read, I did NOT enjoy the stream of consciousness nature of this book. It was quite hard to follow and I found myself lost because I read it over the course of 21 days and put the book down for large periods of time only to wonder where the heck I had left off. The book switches between perspectives and tenses and gives you no warning when you are slammed back into the present where Artemio is in immense amounts of pain from a stomach condition.

The book had some interesting snippets of things to say on death, dying and life. Here are just a few of them:

"Today, when your involuntary functions fore you to take account of them, will triumph, and end up destroying your person.... they will overcome you because they will fore you to take life into account instead of living it."

"We all need witnesses in our life in order to live them."

I really liked this quote and I think that this is the reason that social media is thriving these days. Those platforms give everyone an audience where they can constantly have witnesses to their life. I know I certainly made use of this when I was single. I could be alone in my apartment and have an audience to the mundane tasks of my life. Now that I am married my obsessive posting has died down quite a bit. Now I have someone I live with who is witness to my daily life!!!

"To live is to betray your God. Every act in life, every act that affirms us as living beings, requires that the commandments of your God be broken."

That is a bleak thought, but accurate to a point. Part of human nature is that we don't live up to our own ideals let alone God's. It would make an interesting conversation starter if the quote was thrown out in a group of strangers if nothing else!

That is about all I have to say about The Death of Artemio Cruz. I have been reading lots of fun and really great books this month, and this one doesn't make that list!  This month I have enjoyed Ready Player One, and The Explorer' Guild graphic novel. I recommend both to individuals who enjoy adventure since both were jam packed with it!