What to read when you would like to make your soul even heavier
The Impermanence of Lilies speaks to us about the transience of our souls and the desire to seek meaning. We asked the author, Daniel Yeo, for a collection of reads that help in his pursuit to delve deeper into the mind of his muse, the captain of the Titanic.
Us readers are a sadomasochistic bunch. We feel compelled to seek out, and weigh down our souls with the million worries, and cares, and fears, and bad habits, and mistakes, of countless other individuals - most of whom might exist, only within the pages of a book, written by a stranger (at least at first, before you begin reading them).
Some may never care beyond their immediate self, or their immediate family, or maybe a few close friends. Inner worlds or other people’s worlds do not exist if you do not engage with them. But I believe readers do not choose to be readers.
You do not care because you read.
You read because you care.
You read, because something tells you that there might exist other worlds besides your own. You read, because something makes you feel that those worlds might be as important as your own. Because you know that all worlds—made up or not—inevitably contain truth, and if you follow them far enough, you will find that their roots stretch back to reality. And even if you could not directly change those worlds for better right now, simply knowing, and understanding, are first steps to possibly make The World - through little but not insignificant increments - a better place.
Here are some of the books that helped make my soul heavier.
Satantango by László Krasznahorkai
Satantango is Krasznahorkai’s first work, and begins the author’s thematic concerns of decay, and of the abeyance of time (something that fascinates me, and which I also explore in The Impermanence of Lilies). His work has been described as, “A slow lava flow of narrative, a vast black river of type,” and consists of chapters that are one paragraph long, with not a single line break. This is illuminative and inspiring to me, because I believe that a writer must have his own voice, his own language that are his unique vehicles to deliver his unique perspective. And that without it, a writer is simply a parrot worth no attention.
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” In Slaughterhouse Five, the protagonist Bill wants this to be the epitaph on his tombstone, after witnessing horrors of war that have left him in broken pieces. I have my own interpretation of this line, but I was not sure, so I tried to find other interpretations of it, hoping to find something that would enlighten. But I found none, so I must stick to my own interpretation of it: We never hope for what we have, we never wish for what is so. I mentioned this line, out of many lines in the book, because it illuminates something universal within us: hope, and the need to temper fate with hope. I read not so much for the stories, but for the individual lines within the stories, that for a brief moment, shine a light so brilliantly on ourselves as humans, that we never forget those truths that are revealed to us—and in a moment, a lifetime.
Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
Murakami is one of my favourite authors. Not so much because of the fantasies he paints and invites us into, but because of the distinctive mood that he creates and draws us into. It is that mood that lingers in our memory, and years after forgetting the story itself, we still remember the mood that he put us in—something that I strive for in Lilies as well—for to create a world, is to create a mood, a sense that the world has shifted around you, and while you have been still, you are no longer in the same place you once were, and isn’t that one of the reasons we read?
About the author
Daniel Yeo has always been obsessed about the deeper meaning of things, and finding the threads that run through them. He expresses those discoveries through words. In the daytime, he writes for a living. In the nighttime, he writes to live. He writes fiction so there may be some truth to his words. He studied Mass Communications at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
The Impermanence of Lilies is his first novel.
Take a look at his book here!