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By John Banville

During this luminous new novel approximately love, loss, and the unpredictable strength of reminiscence, John Banville introduces us to Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who has long past again to the seashore city the place he spent his summer season vacations as a toddler to deal with the new lack of his spouse. it's also a go back to where the place he met the Graces, the well-heeled kin with whom he skilled the unusual suddenness of either love and dying for the 1st time. What Max involves comprehend in regards to the previous, and approximately its indelible results on him, is on the middle of this elegiac, gorgeously written novel -- one of the best we've got had from this masterful writer.

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Sample text

In both cases we have to take the infinitely different – each different and varying leaf – and fix some word that will apply to all leaves. This gives us the illusion that there is some general type – say, ‘leafness’ – to which language refers. We imagine that there are fixed forms which our language labels or which can be pointed to, literally and concretely, in language. Against this, Nietzsche insists that language creates concepts; all language, not just literary language, is metaphorical. It takes the concrete and sensible world and refers to it through something else, such as the sign or the concept.

Thinking happens. At the same time, this necessity is also the affirmation of chance and freedom; we are not constrained by an order or pre-given end. True freedom lies in affirming the chance of events, not being deluded that we are ‘masters’ or that the world is nothing more than the limited perceptions we have of it. Freedom demands taking thinking, constantly, beyond itself. Affect is crucial to this ‘violence’ of thinking (violence in the sense of something that happens to us beyond all morality).

Is this not just the way our fixed moral judgements and prejudices operate? I hear an Asian dialect on the bus that I do not understand and I say, ‘That’s not a civilised language’. Someone practises a form of sexuality that is not to my liking and I say, ‘That’s perverse’, or ‘That’s evil’. Over and over again Deleuze insisted that he was working towards an ethics that was ‘beyond good and evil’. This would mean that instead of assuming that there are values or meanings (good and evil) attached to the world, such that we can pass from the world to judgement without question, we need to look at how we pass from the world we perceive in our own specific, sensible and singular way, to concepts, judgements and values.

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