This rather strange book comes to an end and it is not with too much regret that it is over. Sometimes you get to the last page and wish there was more of it but sadly not in this case. The reason why it doesn’t work for me is that it is too clever almost for its own good. If you can imagine that you believe you might never see another dawn and set out to write a book that urges people to enjoy life then that’s great but at least do it without losing the reader along the way.
Points Gide attempts to make are often either in your face or so oblique that you only get them because of the helpful pointers contained in the blurb on the dust jacket. Hard work in places and not quite what I was expecting. Still here are the comments on the last pages of the book.
Bullet points between pages 136 – 221
* After finishing the first book telling the addressed reader Nathaniel to throw it away and get on with living his life the second extension starts by reengaging the reader with tales of those who point the way to the reason why communism is a good choice but also why things will have to change
* There are various stories introduced from a tramp, drowned girl and an inmate in a lunatic asylum which are all used to show that there is great injustice and suffering all around
* The response is to concentrate on loving nature, following God’s will and turning the back on those man made things that cause the evil and suffering in the world and that naturally is a communism but not one that is blind to human nature but one that Gide adapts to be a genuine alternative
A review will follow in the next couple of days but there is The Tin Drum and Voltaire to get posted as well…