Look at Your Hands: Gonçalo M. Tavares Powerful “Kingdom” Novels

In the novel “Jerusalem,” by the Portuguese writer Gonçalo M. Tavares, there is a character named Mylia, who suffers from schizophrenia. One of the manifestations of Mylia’s illness is a strangely intimate experience of, and relationship with, inanimate objects. She is, for example, disgusted by shoes because of their dumb subservience to people, their total self-abnegation as things to be possessed and used. “Not even a dog,” she reflects, “was as submissive as a shoe.” She is also deeply disturbed by eggs: “Eggs, all eggs, contained a kind of concrete, material altruism that Mylia couldn’t find in anything else in the world. Eggs appear because they want to disappear.” This anthropomorphic intimacy leads her to handle things in a way that appears somehow unseemly.

Read the rest at The New Yorker

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