30 November 2005

More about this Blog

The title of this blog is taken from the Jorge Luis Borges short story 'The Garden of Forking Paths'. The name on my email is taken from the title of Stanislaw Lem's masterpiece 'The Cyberiad', a playful novel of parables written in the seventies. Highly recommended.

As you can probably tell, I enjoy reading, hence all the references to book titles and so forth.

"You've got to survive
Stick it in your mind
It's your Leitmotiv"

'Commando Mix' Front 242


steve said...

Nice blog! Just saw 242 last night in DC and they were amazing! I'll be posting some good pics from the show this Thursday if you wanna check 'em out!

IZ Reloaded said...

Ah, now I know.

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Hi Steve, I certainly will. I just saw that you saw Broadcast live!!! I can't imagine. I am staggered. Broadcast! (A most unusual band for Warp Records to sign really.)

IZ, I used to read a lot of magic-realist works from Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Jonathan Carroll in the late eighties when I was in Northern California. I guess there was a knowledgeble bookseller (who was born in the UK) who recommend quite a few volumes of these things. The Garden of Forking Paths is a strange story involving a Chinese spy for the Germans who had to kill someone and was in this garden of forking paths where the British were after him. Surreal. Recommended though. You should be able to find that work in any collection of Borges.

johnnynorms said...

Your website is inspiring - it makes me want to try out some of the music and books that you feature and write about. It's an interesting mix.

I am a recent convert to Italo Calvino - it only took a couple of short stories and there was a new name in my favourites list. Just finished a collection called "Difficult Loves". Borges I bought one ages ago and never got around to it, apart from the story where he sits on a bench and talks to his younger self.

How ever many times I hear a definition of Magic Realism, I can never relay it to anyone else - I just have a gut instinct about what it means!

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Thanks Johnnynorms! I do try to keep it varied. I don't want this to be an eighties music nostalgia blog or a vanity piece. I have seen to me self-absorbed 'mememe' blogs and I guess they cater to their audiences but it is just not for me.

Calvino was a major preoccupation of mine in the late eighties when I was in university in California. I would try Gabriel Garcia Marquez (without success) and a few others (Jose Saramago, again without success). They were interesting in that they explored metaphysical issues and cold logic puzzles. For a person who was embracing the world at seventeen, it was wondrous!

'Difficult Loves'. I am unfamiliar with that. I guess I have read 'Invisible Cities', 'If on a Winter's Night, A Traveller...' and a collection of short stories. I did never finish 'The Castle of Crossed Destinies'.

Borges is difficult indeed! I have managed only some stories but not everything.

I wonder about the definition too. Marquez is so very different from Borges. Isabel Allende? Again, she can be varied. Salman Rushdie? Like youself, I can't relay it, define it or explain it well.

On a related note, what is your opinion of Angela Carter or Doris Lessing?

johnnynorms said...

After reading a page about Magic Realism on Wikipedia, I've decided that if it's too easy to pin down what it is, then it's no longer Magic! Is that an intellectual cop out or what?

Angela Carter and Doris Lessing are still just names on the to-read list, but I have recently enjoyed Salman Rushdie's "Midnights Children", and recommend reading it after having read Gunter Grass' "The Tin Drum". The former pays homage to the latter. They are both certainly Magic Real, whatever that is...