Leaving the Atocha Station is a novel by Ben Lerner, © Coffee House Press 2011
I loved this post. And I want to read this book. So many thoughts. First of all, your opening discussion of authenticity reminded me again of conversations we’d had in Cambodia. Particularly, the degree to which other foreigners ruin people’s sense that they are having the ‘real’ Cambodian experience. Like with Tim and Katie’s famous bridge at their site. Sometimes they hang out there when tour groups come through and people are inevitably upset that there are these two foreigners, sitting there, ruining the ‘authenticity’ of their rural Cambodian moment.
The idea of how words and experiences ring false or true was also interesting. I was surprised how much I identified with the narator in even the small sections you chose to read. It reminded me of a class that Mac once offered (and I never took) about sarcasm etc. and the degree to which we use language to protect ourselves. I think we talked about this once, but I find the way in which we hedge our conversations with words like ‘like’ and ‘kind of’ etc interesting b/c I think it’s a way for us to avoid fully claiming whatever it is we’re attempting to express.
loved “the echo of poetic possibility”
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