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One, No-One, And One Hundred Thousand


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One morning, Vitangelo Moscarda is looking in the mirror when his wife jokingly remarks that he has a crooked nose. This sets in motion an existential crisis which results in Moscarda questioning every aspect of his identity. How do others perceive him? Does every person in our life have a different version of us in their minds? Do we have a different version of ourselves to that of everyone else? Given that we didn't choose to exist, choose our name, or choose our gender, how much of who we are is actually the construct of others and society? He quickly concludes that there are an infinite number of identities we possess, most of which we aren't even aware of, because we aren't privy to all the factors that make us who we are. Thus, we are one, no-one, and one hundred thousand.

This was a fun read. Charming and humourous, with a great deal of spiraling philosophy about the nature and limits of identity. This was postmodernism before it had a name. The writing style is also very accessible with lots of questions and answers where Moscarda essentially talks to himself out loud as though he is an audience member watching his own life unfold. He often refers to himself as a third person or individual who is outside of his experience. As such, many of the brief chapter headings are linked to what will be discussed in the chapter itself.

The plot is ultimately unimportant but revolves around Moscarda endeavouring to escape the prison of who he is in the eyes of others. He seeks out a means of altering people's perceptions even if it's only for a moment, before attempting something bigger which has larger consequences. This, of course, leads to people thinking he's lost his mind and ultimately ends with his life changing forever in a way that can be interpreted as both good and bad. Though I'd say it was ultimately an ending which saw him achieve a certain amount of spiritual contentment. And the final line is actually quite beautiful.



Edited by hux
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