Reviewed by Ranga Iyer-Rajah
Richard Rosenbaum's story takes the reader on a trip of unfamiliar and familiar routes.
The most interesting piece of this ‘grand narration’ takes place inside a huge wooden robot-like structure that has fallen or dumped from the sky. Earth literally quakes beneath its huge monstrous feet. The Singer, a utilitarian, Agent K, a deontologist and a writer Maggie Write enter the wooden structure. The fire fighters help them with their truck and ladder to get inside the wooden structure.
It is Agent K’s idea to get inside in order to stop the potential destruction of the place he and they all love. Because each step this wooden monster takes destroys a bit of, a piece of, structure, history.
Not all three of them get to the top. Maggie Write stops after finding a ‘spiral, claustrophobically narrow staircase’. Metaphorically speaking, Rosenbaum is perhaps depicting the fear of reaching the top or end of Maggie Write’s creativity, or maybe not wanting to know what is in store for her as a creative person at the top.
Write faces her fears in the form of one of her characters—Bella from her novels confronts her about why she was created with a disability? The question raised here is, ‘is god the creator? If yes, then god should be able to create perfection, including perfect people, perfect lives…
If belief is a myth, or proves to be one, in that case the argument can be closed.
Rosenbaum expels doubts and debunks myths in a very simple matter of fact manner.
Utilitarian vs Deontological ethics is explained in a simple yet profound manner. The Singer running away with Write’s notebook/diary following the earthquake while sitting in a restaurant with Agent K and Write. Followed by Agent K saving Write speaks volumes about both schools of thoughts.
There is a smattering of existentialism too—Write’s emphatic ‘no’ to going on that spiral staircase. Or even the part where The Singer’s need to investigate one level before heading further with Agent K to the top.
It is not just the ‘wooden robot-like structure’ and its exploration by the three. The book is multi-layered.
It is a book, which demands your attention even after you finish reading it.
Revenge of the Grand Narrative is published by Quattro Books.