Constructions, By Michael Frayn

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The Independent Culture

"The most original thinking is often done by men who have to struggle to understand anything. A sense that some huge shape lurks among all that fog draws them on." It is a beguiling shape that Michael Frayn has constructed here, with these 309 numbered paragraphs of pithy philosophies. First published in 1974, this slim book examines weighty topics. How to make sense of the world? What and what not ought we to believe?

"By our innermost natures we are readers. We read the world around us continuously, obsessively, necessarily." Frayn explores some of the flawed and correct ways of interpreting the world, dismantling many of the assumptions on which we base our beliefs. Some of the most interesting observations are about his own craft as a writer. He is most absorbing when considering the difficulties of becoming absorbed. What stops us living in the present moment? Is the present, strictly speaking, uninhabitable?

Questions do not always beget answers but instead more questions, and it is enjoyable to follow Frayn as he stumbles through the fog, lightening heavy matters with his humour.

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