● Ion Vianu, Files from The Indifference Archive, Polirom Publishing House, 2021.
Some blanket words are important to Ion Viano’s narrative mechanics. They are found even in some of the titles of his books and give an idea of a certain way of perceiving what the author of the wonderful essay on Amor might call the intelligentsia “literature”: notebooks, pamphlets, archives, proverbs. It is a mixture of biographies, general cultural musings, psychoanalytic myths, disguised memoirs, letters of potential letters, and pure fiction. It is the polymorphic fragmentation that dominates, because its prose develops an original discourse, in our genre spectrum, i.e. epic free from temporal rigor and obsession with semantic mimicry, but full of wisdom, retrograde evocation, dreamy and experimental in the field of balanced expressionism. He revealed this himself when he attempted to define Parnesia: “Fantasms taken as memories, a mixture of fantasies with memories.” Tabs from Archives of Indifference (again, here it is — tabs, archives) is no exception to the style: it’s a dual board combining two of his older novels, Paramnesis (2005) and The Unbeliever (2008). When put together between the same covers, the two most compelling texts recommend the kind of ambiguous prose we talked about above.
In the first novel, we deal with almost daily notes spread over sixteen chapters, seemingly unrelated to each other, as if they were separate drawings. Encounters with some of the deceased (father, friend who died in communist arrest, some climbers who took the fate of victory on a height) and with some picturesque personalities, against the background of “fainting” tans, psychotherapy sessions and strong memories give substance to these notes of varying length and content. Four peculiar archetypes appear, among other things, from the pages of the novel: Gee, a refined wine merchant, unable to reconcile the joy of life with the unexpected spectrum of despair and death; Jamil, an ancient cosmologist of North African descent, ravaged by repressed homosexuality, social pessimism, and programmatic agnosticism; Adolf, a beautiful young pupil, who was irrevocably distinguished by his physical and intellectual encounter with his master; Socrates, a gifted child, with the potential for a bright future. Pre- and post-revolutionary Romania, time, disappearance, separation, travel, faith, the possibility of a destiny and “beyond”, biblical myths, exile, and dream correspondence are equally as topics for contemplation for the metaphysical saturated narrator and the colossal accumulations of books of doubt (By the way, The Dance of King David is a great article on existential equivalence for reading.) They are all under the same sign of the mechanism of attachment of what is written and related to itself, to reality, because, from a moment, what matters is not the present moment, but is indistinguishable from the presentation of “internal cinema”: “We knew it quite simply at that time. Some of our works are dreams. some facts that seem useless to us, even absurd”; “I have created from those remnants, from the rags that once happened to me, they will fall apart, and so will my body. By a wonderful event called the present, the rags, the remnants remain together. This, improbable, useless, union of remnants, called life. I may deceive myself, It’s just an illusion; it’s definitely an illusion.”
The second novel follows the laid-back atmosphere of the Swiss in the first (the mountain, the lake, the neat little town), but it’s a more coherent narrative. If we put it under the sign of absolute immoral (translated by a programmatic existential “coolness”), it seems a kind of promotion to Gide, which is in the vaults of the Vatican, as well as to Dostoevsky, who is in the Notes of a Madman. This only confirms the meanings of indifference in the title of the diptych, because the character, a former bank clerk turned confessor, discovers in one of his friends an alternate soul, a mirror, a weakness that disturbs all his values. Both physician and patient, allegedly patients and potential therapists, experience nihilism, oscillation, loneliness, chronic alcoholism, wandering sexual arousal, and suicide. A lengthy psychoanalytic session (it’s not clear, after all, who’s treating whom) turns into a huge story that springs from the mouth of a non-believer today. Doing nothing, living off paychecks and extorting information from others, and taking sexuality to its last limits (including death’s limits) have long been the two characters’ life goals. Even if, in the end, a drastic change of course seems to put things in the tradition of family ethics, the narrator still questions the darker nature of modern man. “We both belong to the race of infidels, to prostitutes, to those who loved without pleasure, they approached women only to prove that they were free, and that no one could restrain them. I knew for a long time, without admitting, that nothing could change the nature of these men Till the end “.
A mixture of epic and determination, of memoir and fiction, of gloss and prose, with dense psychoanalytic entries, Files of Indifference cut through an unprecedented ocean of fiction, as I have already said. Even if it is re-released, Paramnes Ion Vianu retains the aura of a stylistic and intellectual scene.
Adrian C. rumella He is the writer. Latest book: The Delayed Impact of Youth Feelings, Junimea Publishing, 2020.