Mr. Palomar, married with children, observes the world around him. Immediately, that is: Palomar is not attentive to political, social, economic or cultural affairs, but to concrete persons, animals, plants and objects around him. His thought is inductive: he reaches abstractions and metaphysical questions, instead of building down from them. He approaches things with the least possible burden of prejudice, in order to observe them, as it were, for the first time, just like they are revealed to him.
The book has three parts, each one divided in three chapters rigorously ordered. The first consists only of the description of a visual experience. The second unfolds as a narration and incorporates anthropological, cultural, symbolic, semiotic and linguistic elements. The third moves onto the cosmos, the infinite, the I and the mind.
In part 1, "Mr. Palomar's vacation", he observes the beach, the sky and the garden. "Palomar in the city" puts him on the terrace, shops, and the zoo. And "Mr. Palomar's silences" touches his travels, society and his meditations. Chapter 3.2.3 "The model of models" is a systematic description of his thought and of how he discovered the falseness of Marxism and how he ended up leaving it. It can be said that these texts are philosophical essays inasmuch as he applies an organized method, coherent and logical, to ascend from the particular to the general.
Palomar reflects on science starting from observation, but he does not just dwell on facts, but proceeds philosophically on to their implications, correspondences and meanings. The reading of a wave carries him on to physics and to the dilemma of generality-individuality. The sight of a naked bosom provokes reflections on manners and human relationships. Turtles' lovemaking takes him to sex, eroticism and love. There's the mirtle's whistling and communication. The infinte grass and the cosmos. Moon, planets, stars and dimensions. The belly of a salamander, morphology and evolution. Starlings' migration and conduct, group connections and the behavior of matter. Geese, cheese, meat: suffering, hunger and consumism. Giraffes, gorillas and reptiles: freedom and biology. Serpents and skulls in Tula (Mexico), and a lost slipper: history, truth, remote connections between humans. Youth and society; Mirrors and death.
A slow but magnetic book, full of suggestions and points for research and reflection, written with a subtle humor and a conversational prose.
: I did finish it last hight. I need to be at work in a
: few minutes, so I'll write about it later. Since it
: is so short, my attitude towards it actually improved,
: even though I agree that the most entertaining
: sections were early. One doesn't need the
: conventional elements of story as much for something
: so brief. More later.
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