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Extraordinary Triangles: The Death Of Ivan Ilyich, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage, Hourglass

Time for another Extraordinary Triangles exercise. Here goes:

The Death Of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a respectable public servant in pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia examining his life on the backdrop of a malady that keeps getting worse, forcing him to put into question everything he heretofore took for granted, including his dignity, his morality, and the right(eous)ness of his life choices. In retrospect, as he looks back on his life including his childhood, Ivan Ilyich realizes that the years have taken their toll. He is not the man he used to be. It’s not as if he’s looking back at a younger version of himself. He’s a totally different person to the one he’s reflecting on, and the process scares him, forcing him into a number of grave assessments of both himself and his surroundings, all the while seeking redemption.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage is the story of a self-sufficient engineer trying to understand a life-changing conflict between himself and four formerly close high-school friends, with whom he no longer has contact. The incident took place sixteen years prior, the event presumably forgotten after all this time, and yet it finds its way back into Tsukuru’s life, urging him to seek answers. The past, Tsukuru realizes, is not something you can easily sideswipe. ‘You can hide memories, but you can’t erase the history that produced them.’ It takes great effort to reconcile oneself with what happened, and even then things can never be fully mended, though new beginnings can always be made, if one so chooses.

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage is the story of two authors, Dani and her husband, M., whose eighteen-year-long marriage has led them to examine every aspect of their conjoined lives. Written from the perspective of Dani, it offers insight on the effects of time spent in wedlock, exploring the formative power of memories. Dani realizes in bittersweet fashion that life has a way of working out even when it doesn’t quite work out, and that what we call life is a non-linear assortment of experiences we keep track of as best we can in order to give meaning to what we, and others, including loved ones, do, or did, or love doing. She also realizes that the person doing the reminiscing, the pondering, the self-reflection, is not the same person as the one being reflected on, and that this entails a learning curve that represents the process of growing up, which we engage in for as long as we live.

And there you have it. The Death Of Ivan Ilyich; Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage; Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage; three compelling tales centered around the arduous but often rewarding power of self-reflection, exploring the effects of the past, shedding light on the process of digging deep in order to truly know oneself, and one’s loved ones — to come to terms with our life choices in our ongoing effort to redeem ourselves.

From the bays of Pearl Coast,

Fish a ton of oysters, strike a shiny pearl or three.

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