Wednesday, December 25, 2013

John Berger's "From A to X"

Finished reading John Berger's epistolary novel, "From A to X". A'ida is a medical practitioner in an unnamed country in South America and her lover/betrothed Xavier has been incarcerated in Cell #73 of an unidentified prison. She sends letters to him at times and informs him about the latest developments in the city where insurgents are fighting against the state and the state forces are closing in on them. It seems that Xavier is one of the revolutionaries and he has been imprisoned for a long time. A'ida remembers their time spent together and describes those sensuous memories in words and sketches of hands. Xavier puts his observations at the back blank part of the letters that A'ida has sent and in those observations he presents the picture of the capitalistic regime exploiting the world. The novel is written in sparse style with very few details provided to the reader and inviting their imagination to fill in the gaps. The encroaching of politics into the personal space and its consequences has been presented in a serious manner. Characters are presented with warm sympathy and the unconventional narrative style provides a pleasing read.

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