mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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2'2" & naughty. (62)

The Dwarf by Pär Lagerkvist.

The Mona Lisa
has the smile of a saint &
a whore, says the dwarf.

Olive gave me this little gem of a book; gave it to me twice, & I finally realized I ought to read it. I can be terrible at reading bought I'm meant to, so I didn't give myself a chance to put it off, & I'm glad I read it right away. I liked it. The premise is pretty simple: the dwarf Piccoline is the embodyment of misanthropy. Other reviewers have said "evil" which is charming & utterly misses the point. I'd take misanthropy & call it some more deeply seated psychological term, borderline personality disorder-- since isn't that the root of his behavior? His inability to correctly read the affect of others. He sees only the rot & ruin; a reasonable way to behave. So he makes his way through life with hate & poison. He's reasonable, once you realize that for all his vaunted skill at understanding people, he can't empathize with them. Gee, I wonder why Olive likes this, & why she recommended it to me. I will say, I don't share the dwarf's brand of misanthropy-- though I won't deny our Venn circles overlap in places. The story is peppered with thinly veiled historical figured-- "Bernardo" makes a painting of the last supper of Christ, a painting of the Princess' beautiful & mysterious smile, draws diagrams & war machines. Yeah, I get it; & the prince of the Italian city-state is a Borgia? No way! Cute, though.
Tags: books, haiku

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