I'm Not Auster oleh Enrique Vila-Matas

Paul Auster

 Bahasa adalah arbitari sifatnya: lalu dalam dunia bahasa, mencuri kata-kata adalah bukan suatu dosa.

Saya suka apabila penulis mencuri nama penulis lain dan memasukkan nama penulis itu ke dalam bukunya; ia memasukkan nama tersebut seolah-olah nama tersebut adalah miliknya; seolah-olah nama tersebut sudah terpisah daripada tubuh pengarang yang sebelum ini wujud dan dikenali dan dibicarakan dan diperdebatkan (kalau nama itu memang nama yang dikata-katakan) berdasarkan nama tersebut; seolah-olah nama tersebut adalah watak; dan sebagai watak, mengikut tuntutan mana-mana watak, ia akan membutuhkan kebebasan dalam dunia barunya. 

Barangkali sastera akan lebih aman dan bebas daripada prejudis sekiranya pengarang tidak mempunyai nama. Dengan itu, pembaca akan hanya berurusan dengan buku yang ada di depan mereka; tanpa perlu mengambil tahu tentang sejarah, tentang warna kulit, tentang agama, tentang sentimen politik, tentang bilangan kekasih, tentang pilihan muzik, tentang rahsia gelap pengarang yang menulis buku itu. Tentang kabus di luar rumah. Dan tubuh gelap yang berjalan di dalamnya. 

Oleh itu, barangkali, lebih ramai nama penulis harus diseledup masuk ke dalam fiksyen. Supaya nama mereka terselamat daripada sangkat prejudis; supaya nama mereka menerima tafsiran baru; supaya nama mereka boleh keluar dan masuk antara dua dunia. 

Dan kadang-kadang, dengan bergerak ke dunia lain, nama pengarang yang asalnya mungkin kurang diberikan perhatian di suatu tempat, akan dapat menemui pembaca yang lebih menghargai namanya.

Seperti yang berlaku kepada Paul Auster di Sepanyol. Lebih-lebih lagi sekarang dia menjadi watak dalam novel Enrique Vila-Matas Dublinesca dan cerita berjudul I'm Not Auster yang saya akan turunkan kutipan di bawah:

A weakness for Auster, who by some is now so maligned. I think the dangerous decline in appreciation for his work began with people saying he wasn’t as well known in the U.S as he is in Europe. In Spain—a country so riddled with envy, it’s practically the national sport—the idea spread like wildfire that a man like this (intelligent, rich, good-looking, successful) was more highly regarded by us than by the Americans. I started overhearing people saying, Didn’t I tell you, we don’t have a clue! A certain irregularity in Auster’s recent work meant that what was already fertile ground blossomed with envy, and all kinds of resentful and mean-spirited people started having a go at Auster as well.

Auster has always just been my kind of writer. Whatever anyone else says, I’ve always found him simply charming. And just as I can allow him his minor faults, I’m also glad when he does well. There’s something graceful about his writing that places him, along with the likes of Stevenson, in Fernando Savater’s category of enchanters. “It’s hardly scientific as a literary critical category, I know”, says Savater, “but I’m only writing for proper readers, and I know they’ll know what I mean.” This charm, for Savater,is easier to distinguish by what it isn’t: it isn’t genius, profundity, brio, or formal perfection, and neither could it be called an innovative or a classical bent; a minor author might have the touch and still never break into the highest ranks of world literature. But when combined with other qualities, it can make addicts of us. “Perhaps the closest thing to this charm,” concluded Savater, “is when we encounter someone and admire them at first sight, unenviously, unsuspiciously—someone whose shortcomings we can also excuse. The kind of literary connection we feel with Voltaire, say, or de Quincey, or Borges, but not with Anatole France, Goethe, Benito Pérez Galdós or Gorky.”

Whenever I come across an interview with Auster, I’ll always read it straight away. I find it puts me in the right mood, giving me new ideas and an impetus to write. This is why I find it difficult to finish his novels, and indeed interviews with him—such is my urge to write, I simply have to stop reading. In the interview I’ve just abandoned in order to write this, Auster cites Cervantes, Dickens, Kafka, Beckett and Montaigne as influences. These are exactly the writers who form the axis on which my literary universe also turns. “They’re all inside me,” Auster says. “Dozens of writers are inside me, but I don’t think my work sounds or feels like anyone else’s. I’m not writing their books. I’m writing my own.”

Enrique ialah sebilangan kecil penulis yang menjamah ideanya dari dalam dunia sastera itu sendiri. Dia ibarat cacing yang hidup dalam tubuh sastera; dan perlu makan tubuh tuannya sebanyak mungkin kerana di luar tubuh itu, dia tidak akan boleh bertahan; dia tidak akan boleh hidup tanpa sastera.


  

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