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A Book About Tara (book recommendation and review) /// Knjiga o Tari, Zdenko Lešić (ogled i preporuka knjige)

What kind of novel is it? I would describe it as a profound philosophical and autobiographical novel, written in a post-modernist style. Its author is a well-known Croatian University professor who has written numerous academic works, papers and books on the subject of literature. This unique book is skilfully (or skillfully if you prefer American English spelling), beautifully and eloquently written. There are several leitmotifs that are masterfully explored, becoming an essential part of the narrative, for example the subject of memory. It just dawned of me that this very novel might have been what inspired my recent meditations upon memories (here). You see, I took my time with reading this one.  It was an emotional read, as well as an intellectual one.  You don’t come across a book that balances both well often. Today I finished reading this one and my final conclusion is: this novel is perfect in every way.

Kakav je ovo roman? Ja bih ga opisala kao složeni filozofski i autobiografski roman, napisan u postmodernističkom stilu. Njegov autor je poznati hrvatski sveučilišni profesor koji je napisao brojna akademska djela, radove i knjige na temu književnosti. Ova jedinstvena knjiga je vješto, lijepo i elokventno napisana. Nekoliko lajtmotiva je sjajno istraženo te postaju bitni dio pripovijedanja, na primjer tema sjećanja. Upravo mi je sinulo da me je možda upravo ovaj roman naveo da u zadnje vrijeme meditiram o sjećanju (ovdje). Vidite, dosta sam ga dugo čitala. Samo čitanje romana je zahtjevalo i emotivni i intelektualni angažman, a ne nalazi se tako često na roman koja dobro drži u ravnoteži oboje.  Danas sam konačno završila čitanje i moj konačan zaključak je: ova knjiga je savršena u svakom pogledu.







Who is Tara? Tara is neither she or he. Tara is the divine mercy, an echo of Buddha perfection, calling out to all beings, trying to lead them towards a path of salvation. Tara is not a goddess, even if sometimes she is revered in that way. Tara is, simply said, the embodiment of mercy. Very early in the narrative, we’re introduced to Tara concept by our narrator, a professor from Sarajevo,  who is (in the novel) currently teaching at an University in South Korea. The protagonist/narrator of the novel, in many ways, the author himself, searches for comfort in this Tara concept (taken from Buddhism) while trying to write a novel that would allow him to come to terms with his traumatic memories. He uses two stories (legends) to explain the concept of Tara. First story is of young man gone on a pilgrimage. Somewhere half way he is already exhausted and he can’t go on. Having spent all of his food supplies, he lies waiting for death. However, instead of death in this harsh wilderness, a young woman arrives, a shepherdess who is taking care of a herd of yaks. She carries him into his tend, feeds him with yak’s milk and nurses him back to health. He is amazed by the strenght of this young woman, who despite working tiredlessly keeps her spirits up. Once he is recovered, she bids him farewell. She is not sad, for she knows there is no meeting without a farewell (beautiful words, repeated many times in the course of the narrative). ‘Was this young women Tara?’, the young man wonders when he reaches his destination- a Buddhist monastery. Did Tara save the young man’s life? Instead of an answer, the story is told from the other perspective. That of a young woman. It is time for her to take her herd of yaks to pasture in the wildness, on a journey will last for months. She knows that the journey will be long and tiresome, but that doesn’t frighten her, because she is used to hard work. She has only one fear- having to spend so many times without so much as seeing another human being. She is frightened that she will lose her mind. Days go by and her fear increases. Suddenly she founds a young man, half dead from starvation. She nurses him back to health, much grateful for his companionship. He leaves but she is not frightened of solitude any more, and feels confident of being able to complete her solitary journey. She wonders whether the young man was Tara. Now, it is time for our writer to wonder has Tara visited him? And if yes, in what way?

Who is Tara? Tara nije ni ona ni on. Tara je božansko milosrđe, odjek Budina savršenstva koje zove sva bića, nastojeći ih voditi prema putu spasenja. Tara nije božica, iako ju se nekad štuje u tom obliku. Tara je, jednostavno, milosrđe. Vrlo rano u samom pripovijedanju, ovaj koncept nam dočarava pripovjedač romana profesor književnosti iz Sarajeva, koji trenutno (u romanu) predaje na sveučilištu u Južnoj Koreji. Glavni lik i pripovjedač romana, na puno načina, sam autor, traži u ideji Tare (preuzetoj iz Budizma) utjehu dok pokušava napisati roman koji bi mu omogućio da se suoči sa svojim traumatičnim sjećanjima. Koristima se dvama pričama (legendama) kako bi objasnio koncept Tare. Prva priča je o mladiću koji je otišao na hodočašće.  Na pola puta već je iscrpljen i ne može dalje. Potrošio je već i zalihe hrane, pa stoga čeka smrt. No, umjesto smrti u divljini, stiže djevojka, pastirica koja se brine o krdu jakova. Ona ga nosi u njen šator, hrani ga jakovim mlijekom i njeguje ga dok ne ozdravi.  On je začuđen tom mladom djevojkom, koja neprestano radi, a ipak je stalno dobro raspoložena. Kada mu se povrati snaga, djevojka mu kaže zbogom. Nije tužna jer zna da nema sastanka bez rastanka ( prelijepe riječi, često se ponavljaju u romanu). Je li ta mlada žena bila Tara upitao se mladić kada je došao do svoga odredišta, budističkoga samostana. Je li Tara spasila život mladića? Umjesto odgovora, priča se kazuje iz drugoga kuta gledanja, onoga djevojke. Vrijeme je da odvede svoje krdo jakova na pašu u divljinu, na putovanje koje će trajati mjesecima. Zna da će putovanje biti dugo i teško, ali to je ne plaši jer je navikla na težak rad. Ima samo jedan strah- morati provesti mjesece u divljni bez da vidi drugo ljudsko biće. Boji se da će izgubiti pamet. Dani prolaze, a njen se strah povećava. Odjednom pronalazi  mladića koji je polumrtav od gladi. Njeguje ga dok mu ne povrati snaga, jako zahvalna za njegovo društvo. On odlazi, ali ona se više ne plaši samoće. Sada je sigurna da će uspjeti dovršiti svoje osamljeno putovanje. Pita se je li taj mladić bio Tara. Sada je vrijeme da se naš pisac zapita je li ga Tara ikada posjetila? Ako da, na koji način?






There are many similar stories in this novel. The author tells, with much tenderness, numerous life stories of people he knew, people who were and are his friends as well as stories that interests him. The novel is often meditative, it contemplates deep matters and spiritual concepts, but it doesn't try to make its reader believe in any dogma. Much of the narrative is focused on author's life in South Korea and his friends there (both foreign and local). The part that talks about the war and the siege of Sarajeva is relatively short, but absolutely devastating. That part is focused on the murder of author's brothers and it won't be easy to read, especially to someone who has had a similar/same experience. Coping with loss is one of the most important themes in this novel. Nevertheless, this is a book of hope.  A novel founded, as cheesy as it might sound, on mercy. If you want me to draw some parallels to other works, I can say that this novel reminded me of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller (Se una notte d'inverno un viaggitore), especially in its exploration of the process of writing. As I said, Zdenko Lešić teaches literature on an University level so you can imagine how interesting and well developed his reflections on the literature itself are. Another book I could compare this one with would be Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgiveness, which talks volumes about the power of memory.  A Book About Tara asks many questions about self-realization and identity ( such as : Who am I really? Am I a different/ new person with every new day?), especially towards the end of the novel. To conclude, it is an exceptional novel, full of tenderness and wisdom.

Ima puno priča kao ta o Tari u ovome romanu. Pisac pripovijeda, s puno nježnosti, razne životne priče ljudi koje je poznavao, ljudi koji su bili ili još uvijek jesu njegovi prijatelji. Roman je često meditativan, razmatra ozbiljna pitanja i duhovne koncepte, ali ne pokušava čitatelja uvjeriti u bilo kakvu dogmu. Većina pripovijedanja je usmjerena na piščev život u Južnoj Koreji i njegove prijatelje tamo ( domaće i strane). Dio koji priča o ratu i opsadi Sarajeva je relativno kratak, ali vrlo potresan. Taj dio je usmjeren na ubojstva braće pisca i neće biti lak za čitanje, pogotovo nekome tko ima isto/slično iskustvo. Suočavanje s gubitkom je jedna od najvažnijih tema u ovoj knjizi. No, ipak je ovo roman nade. Roman koji je utemeljen, koliko god se to čudnim činilo, na milosrđu. Želite li da povučem paralele s nekim drugim djelima, mogu reći da me ovaj roman posjetio na roman Itala Calvina Ako jedne zimske noći putnik  (Se una notte d'inverno un viaggitore), posebno u dijelu koji istražuje proces pisanja.  Kao što sam rekla, Zdenko Lešić predaje književnost na sveučilišnoj razini, pa možete zamisliti koliko su zanimljiva i dobro razrađena njegova promišljana o samoj književnosti. Još jedna knjiga koju bi usporedila s ovom bi bila Knjiga smijeha i zaborava Milana Kundere, koja također puno govori o moći sjećanja. Knjiga o Tari postavlja brojna pitanja o samoostvarenju i identitetu ( npr. Tko sam ja zaista? Jesam li ja drukčija i nova osoba sa svakim danom?), pogotovo kako se kraj romana približava. Ostaje mi samo zaključiti kako se radi o izvanrednom ostvarenju, punom nježnosti i mudrosti.





Comments

  1. Love it!

    http://iameleine.blogspot.com/

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  2. I have not picked up a book in a while, glad to read you are enjoying this.

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  3. Oh my goodness, it sounds SO complicated! I really do struggle with philosophical books- I've not finished one, I just can't sustain my interest! You are a true intellectual with great taste in a variety of books!x

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    Replies
    1. thank you Kezzie. I try to be an avid reader.<3

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  4. un libro davvero molto interessante :)
    buon giovedì
    <<< tr3ndygirl fashion & beauty blog >>>
    un abbraccio

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  5. This book sounds like a thought provoking one and I can see why you took your time to read it, I think I would too. I like that the story was told from two different perspectives; the man and the woman. Definitely an interesting read.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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  6. Sounds like a really great book:) I have to read it:)
    kisses:*

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  7. Le tue review dei libri sono sempre molto accurate, anche se questo qui sembra avere una trama un po' contorta!

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  8. Hello ! This is not spam! But just an invitation to join us on "Directory Blogspot" to make your blog in 200 Countries
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    ReplyDelete
  9. ideal, me encanta!
    Muchas gracias por tu comentario en mi blog bonita,te espero por mi nuevo post, mil besos!
    http://patriciasanchezstylestreet.blogspot.com.es/

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  10. sounds like an amazing and interesting book

    www.abdelkhalekleblog.com

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  11. Jao meni, da barem imam mrvicu slobodnog vremena, odmah bi pravac u knjižnicu po ovaj roman jer zvuči kao djelo u kojem bi jako uživala, pogotovo još kad si na kraju povukla paralele sa Clavinom i Kunderom...zapisujem si naslov u notes i čim prođe Nova godina, bacam se na čitanje! :)

    Btw, divna recenzija, dugo nisam ovako uživala!

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  12. Molto interessante questo libro mi piacerebbe leggerlo!

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  13. Sembra davvero interessante questo libro, non avevo mai sentito parlare di quest'autore, ma a giudicare dalla tua precisissima review credo mi piacerebbe!
    Ho sempre amato i libri che ti fanno riflettere al di fuori della storia che raccontano! :)
    Baci!
    S
    http://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.it

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  14. It seems to be a very interesting book! :)
    --
    O diário da Inês | Facebook | Instagram

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  15. Seems like an interesting book. I should read one, it's been such a long time since my last book. Thanks for your lovely comment, xo
    http://www.hollylovespaul.com/

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  16. Não conhecia mais gostei da resenha, obrigado pela visita.
    Blog: https://arrasandonobatomvermelho.blogspot.com.br/
    Canal:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmO8csZDARM

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  17. This is such an interesting topic, thanks for sharing Ivana! xx

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  18. love it!!!xoxo
    http://mamodebychiaradipalma.blogspot.it/

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  19. Stvarno deluje kao zanimljivo delo i sam tvoj opis me je bacio na razmišljanje. Volim kad jedna priča može da se doživi iz različitih uglova koji se prepliću...

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  20. This sounds like quite the book, especially if it is getting your whole hearted praise and you couldn't think of a single thing wrong with it. I like the idea of this one being about someone who is waiting for death but finds his salvation through Tara. Already that premise makes me think it is going to cross a range of themes and discuss and investigate them all in detail. Brilliant review.

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  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  22. This novel sounds very interesting. Thank you for the tipp :-)

    xoxo Nadine

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All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.

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