Tag Archives: 1900-1999

The Invention of Morel

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Invention of Morel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Adolfo Bioy Casares, trans Ruth L C Simms, preface Jorge Luis Borges, introduction Suzanne Jill Levine, part of the New York Review Books Classics series.

Casares the Invention of Morel

Although this novel is very short, it feels increasingly slow and frustrating toward the midpoint. Rather than a fault, this mood shows its success at getting the reader to identify with its stranded fugitive speaker, who is significantly the aspiring author of two books other than the journal which forms the principal text of The Invention of Morel. The later part of the book involves a crucial anagnorisis and the working out of its consequences.

I was more than a little reminded of The Island of the Day Before, and I feel certain Eco must have read Morel. Although in his praise for it Borges called this book an “adventure story,” I am compelled to view it as a parable.

The moral of Morel: . . (hover over for spoiler) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In the Center of the Fire

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989 [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by James Wasserman.

Wasserman in the Center of the Fire

This “warts and all” account of an American Thelemite’s personal quest also chronicles the axial development of the Thelemic movement in the second half of the 20th century, as well as the New York City occult scene of the 1970s. It reads very quickly. The prose is occasionally transparent as the factual condensation of diary data, but the honesty concerning events described is positively bracing. When I first heard announcement of this book’s impending publication, I knew I would need to have a copy. And now that I’ve read it, that knowledge is thrice-confirmed by the way that it ties together its fascinating matter through the integral experience of a true magician. Br. Wasserman doesn’t hesitate to relay his personal judgments of those characters — living and dead — with whom he has interacted, and in those cases where I have my own personal acquaintance with them, I concur with his verdicts. As rewarding as the text is, the many glossy pages of photos are especially gratifying. My Other Reader considered at least one of them “scandalous,” and they provide an important set of images to complement the narratives I have been gradually learning for the last two decades.