Monday, March 05, 2012

The Book of Eternity: a Bus Reading (Part 2)

In yesterday's post I wrote about the significance of the protagonists' names in the novel "The Book of Eternity" by Abdul-Khaliq Al-Rikabi. Today I've reached in my reading about two-thirds of the novel:
The journey to central Baghdad started at 7:00 a.m. and after that, the watch, the metaphysical eye, was forgotten. Pages ate pages, images interposed. I was happy that Hanan (the female name which literally means Sympathy, or Compassion) had gained some individual characteristics, even though, they were little negative: her addiction on using her personal computer via which she proceeds her literature study, hears music and songs, and plays video games. 

The old experienced novelist had quitted his home but had left the key for Waheed Hilmy (literally means Lonely Dreamy) in one of his neighbors' houses and invited Waheed, who is making a research on his works, to visit his library, use his books, and open his personal computer but left a notice, that he don't want Waheed to open the file of the new novel he (the experienced old writer) is about to accomplish. 
Waheed went with, his now lover, Hanan, and visited the old experienced novelist's home. The personal computer desktop shows four paintings, one of them is Velasquez's. 

All the CDs were in a desk that was locked but there was a CD left near the PC. Hanan and Waheed put the CD in and a video game started. The hero, a female, is in front of a puzzle. Hanan knew that game which is, "famous", as she said. She started playing and there was action. It was an action and puzzle game in an Egyptian site. The protagonist must find keys to open doors.
They argued, Hanan and Waheed, about opening the file that contain the new novel of the old experienced writer. The forbidden file. Hanan, as she is adventure-seeking as we started to know her more, encouraged Waheed to open the file but Waheed, the lonely dreamy young novelist, the idealistic who refused Hanan's help in stealing a paper from a magazine from the National Library of their city, refused to open the file. Instead they started examining the multiple varied books of the old writer. Waheed remembered Borges quote about his imagination of heaven as a big library. 

Hanan succeeded finally to persuade Waheed to open the forbidden file. The forbidden file words, written by the old novelist, spans from page 106 to page 156. It tells the story of the old writer with Talal Shakir (=Fine-Rain Thankful), Thabit Dhari (=Stable Predator), Dhuha (=Forenoon), and Talal's dog who is unnamed.
It tells about how rich was Talal's family and about how there was a car that was bringing Talal to the primary school each morning and taking him in the afternoon when cars were very rare in that time in their city. Talal received special treatment from teachers. Thabit and the old writer were in the same class of Talal. Thabit was aware of his family poverty. Thabit had squinted eyes, and a limp because one of his lower limbs is shorter than the other. Thabit betted the old writer, when they were children, that he can persuade Talal to give them a ride with his car. Thabit went to Talal and told him that he does not really own the car, and that the car belongs to his father, and that he cannot even let his friends go inside the car. The result was that Thabit won the bet, which was about a dish of chick-pea. 

Talal invited them to his parents' house and showed them his pets. Thabit whispered in the old writer's ears that his family does not eat chickens only rarely while Talal is playing with chickens. Thabit held grudges to Talal.
Thabit grudge towards Talal continued and grew old as they grew older. Thabit did his best to ruin the relationship between Dhuha and Talal. And at the end of the old writer's account for his story with his two friends we knew that Thabit had poisoned Talal's dog with a piece of poisoned meat.
The old writer wrote at the end that he had written another file and had put a password for it. He gave him a hint about the password saying that its meaning means: "the continuous now" and is used by Sophists. The old writer ends his chapter by saying that if Waheed will find the password, they will write this "game" together. 

Page 156 was reached and that makes 59% of the 264 pages novel. I feel I am in the game. I am waiting, since now, tomorrow's morning when I will take another bus to the working site, a journey that takes one and a half hour, and sometimes 2 hours, a journey that I am starting to accommodate to, and even to like. A little. Just a little bit. 

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