Bix wrote:I have to agree with your summation here, Liz. I liked the ending because it did let us know Antoine had grown old at Happy Days while it changed to keep up with the world and he did not. It is so telling that he ends with "All my life, I've let myself die." Or maybe I just really don't get it!Liz wrote:I think the purpose of the last bit of dialog is to indicate that Antoine really hasn’t moved on. He’s still in the same spot, not participating, despite the changes taking place around him at Happy Days.
HOWEVER, now that he is approaching death, he is now observing life in the little ones.
This one has not been one of my favorites, although I do have to agree with the book jacket blurb that says, "This is a small book, but it takes you far" or something to that effect. I do think it is very well crafted and I especially like the steady movement toward completion of the circle throughout. But, like you, nebraska, I didn't really like Antoine and I just couldn't get really interested in this one. But I am glad I read it and I may go back and reread it and find myself thinking about it in a whole different light.
I have to agree here, I don't really see that Antoine changed at all. It reminds me of the trick they do on TV where one character is shown in slow motion while everyone around has been sped up in fast forward. Antoine just sits there on the bench while the world speeds by. The ending was just perfect for the book, however -- taking us right back to the beginning.
This has been the first discussion that I've (sort-of) participated in where I liked the book less after the discussion. When I first read the book, I thought it was an interesting little character study, both tragic and humorous. I didn't see the Buddhist overtones as strongly as has been talked about here, and I guess, because I don't agree with that philosophy, it changed my opinion of the book.
It was an interesting discussion, however. I did look forward to reading the threads every day.