Ishmael
by Daniel Quinn
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The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man  in search for truth. He answers an ad in a local  newspaper from a teacher looking for serious  pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned  office with a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling  de... More

Jesus Ortega Segura's Review

Jesus Ortega SeguraJesus Ortega Segura wrote a review
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This is the second time I read this book in about a year or so. Not only have I added it to the list of fundamental books I want to carry with me (this time around, I purchased my own, while the first time I read one from the public library), but I have also recommended to my oldest son, who is thrilled with it. Daniel Quinn's book, a philosophical novel that truly has more of essay or non-fiction than anything else, is definitely an eye opener. Using the figure of a gorilla who is capable of communicating with the narrator (perhaps the weakest part of the story, although it's difficult to see how else the author could have proceeded to tell his story), we learn to re-consider all our given assumptions about civilization, culture and nature. A highly recommended read. As in the case of the writings of John Zerzan and other so-called "primitivists" (a label that could be questioned), the critics may point out that a return to a pre-civilized life is just impossible. And what? Is that exactly what they propose? It's not clear to me. In any case, I don't think they are providing answers, but rather asking the questions. If civilization was indeed a big mistake (and, after reading them, it seems likely), we may as well accept it, even if we don't like where that might take us. Otherwise, we are just knowingly fooling ourselves.