Fable ///

Pixar's The Incredibles | GregoryWest

Maybe fable is not the ideal term, but call it allegory, magical realism, or simply fairy tales, I love a well-told story that helps you see the world through someone else’s experience without being too on-the-nose. For example, the first time I saw the Animal Farm animated film as a kid, I had no idea what a dictatorship was, but it beautifully illustrated the social forces at the heart of one.


Heart of Darkness ///

Heart of Darkness | GregoryWest

‘The last word he pronounced was – your name.’

I heard a light sigh, and then my heart stood still, stopped dead short by an exulting and terrible cry, by the cry of inconceivable triumph and of unspeakable pain. ‘I knew it – I was sure!’ … She knew. She was sure. I heard her weeping; she had hidden her face in her hands. It seemed to me that the house would collapse before I could escape, that the heavens would fall upon my head. But nothing happened. The heavens do not fall for such a trifle. Would they have fallen, I wonder, if I had rendered Kurtz that justice which was his due? Hadn’t he said he wanted only justice? But I couldn’t. I could not tell her. It would have been too dark – too dark altogether …

title : Heart of Darkness
author : Joseph Conrad

life of pi ///

I love a good metaphor and I absolutely loved reading Life of Pi. Similar to Orwell and Rushdie, Yann Martel was able to explore complex ideas in a hearbreakingly lovely and human story. Also, bonus points for the beautiful artwork by Andy Bridge on the original hardcover edition. I would love a huge print of it hanging up on my wall.

1984 ///

George Orwell’s 1984 is, hands-down, my favourite book. Each time I read it, I find something new that I hadn’t noticed before. It feels as relevant today as it most likely did when first written in 1948, and I’m sure people will be saying the same thing fifty years from now. The thing I love the most about the book is that Orwell was able to capture all of the gears that start grinding away whenever a large enough group of people tries to live together — complex forces and motivations that become much clearer when set in a fictitious time and place. Kind of like a cautionary fable.

That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force?

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking into the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed.

Bonus points for the beautiful cover art by Shepard Fairey in a recent Penguin reprint of 1984 and Animal Farm.