Utz By Bruce Chatwin (E–pub Download) Ç Bruce Chatwin

His passion for collecting porcelain His devotion to Meissen porcelains is without parallel during the war he gave away all his other earthly belongings to secure a Czechoslovak passport and residence in Prague The narrator meets with Utz who talks with him about porcelain alchemy and golems much of the book is satire on the absurdity of totalitarian regimes of the 20th century one of which Utz had to live in This is best seen in the opening scene of the book which by the nature of being a funeral should have been sad but because the funeral takes place in 1974 in Czechoslovakia it s darkly humorous A man asks the narrator if he can play the organ and upon hearing a negation he admits that he can t either and resignedly goes to do exactly that A cleaning woman refuses to move for the coffin bearers and they have to go around her and they have to hurry as the state has ruled that all Christian rituals have to be done by 830 AM There are many such examples in the book but I ll leave the fun of discovering to prospective readers Although Utz could have used multiple opportunities to defect to the West he was always dragged back to Prague not by the government but by his precious porcelain which he couldn t leave behind He always came back to the city and this is where he eventually died which is where the book opens and the narrator reaches full circle learning about Utz from his friends and acuaintances he is able to present a complete vision of Utz as a person But can a person such as Utz ever truly be scrutinized and understoodLike Utz s figurines the book itself is a miniature it reads uickly but but is packed with a multitude of references and observations from the nature of humankind to specific political and social affairs of the era I think it could be adapted excellently for stage and for film I m surprised that no one has thought of it yet given the success of last years s Grand Budapest Hotel If you enjoyed that film there is a chance that you will also enjoy Utz and even if you didn t there is little risk in dusting off this forgotten book and discovering the life of a little known Saxon baron who once held the largest porcelain collection in the whole of Bohemia Living Within the LieHow can one best deal with the reality of power particllarly power which is obviously arbitrary and tasteless as well as unjust This is an especially relevant issue during the regime of Trump and his vulgarising influence in world affairs Utz is wonderful comedic farce about how to deal with power at a personal as well as a political level not by confronting it but by treating it with utter disdainThe eponymous Utz is a Czech survivor of two world wars and a subseuent communist regime What sustains him is an aesthetic specifically his appreciation for Meissen porcelain Wars pogroms and revolutions he used to say offer excellent opportunities for the collector He is savvy enough to understand that power is never permanently held and that its machinations need not impede the life of the true aesthete Tyranny sets up its own echo chamber a void where confused signals buzz about at random where a murmur or innuendo causes panic so in the end the machinery of repression is likely to vanish not with war or revolution but with a puff or the voice of falling leaves Power is its own worst enemy if we can ust leave it alone it dissipatesUtz is no avaricious materialist Collecting is a spiritual endeavour that involves treating no avaricious materialist Collecting is a spiritual endeavour that involves treating pieces as if they were icons "That Promote Entry Into "promote entry into world Such appreciation is impossible in a museum or public gallery where the pieces must suffer the de natured existence of an animal in the zoo In any museum the object dies of suffocation and the public gaze whereas private ownership confers on the owner the right and the need to touch His obsession with porcelain is a uest to find the substance of immortality But a collection of such objects is also a constant reminder of one s own mortality These things are the changeless mirror in which we watch ourselves disintegrate Nothing is ageing than a collection of works of art The collection presents both concrete reality and existential hope for the one oppressed by powerEven the pieces act much as the Golem in the Jewish legends of Prague to protect if not one s body at least one s mind from the threats of power which abound in life So for Utz this world of little figures was the real world And like the Golem and for that matter Adam himself isn t porcelain created from clay and water These precisely crafted fragments of clay are our links to the supernatural which permit us to ignore the minor irritations of bureaucrats and customs officials no matter how expertly applied So you see said Utz not only was Adam the first human person He was also the first ceramic sculpture Porcelain is a philosophy of primal mankind of freedomNevertheless an aesthetic obsession like a Golem is prone to get out of hand unless there is a control mechanism Utz In fact has two such controls sex and an annual two weeks abroad The first keeps him grounded the second keeps him sane It s a clever therapy and he recognizes his fortunate luxury This is a luxury which allows him to avoid the main temptation to power that is to say power as a remedy for power s ills He knew that anti Communist rhetoric was as deadly as its Communist counterpart In any case his annual visits abroad served mainly to remind him of the venality and useless worry that were the essential conditions of living in the WestThus Utz s aesthetic allows him to live comfortably and without undue stress within the lie not ust the lie of Czechoslovakian Communism but also the lie that there is anything permanent or permanently obtainable in life Not at all a bad way to deal with the power that envelopes one s existence. By him as much of a prisoner of the collection as of the Communist stateA fascinating enigmatic man Kaspar Utz is one of Bruce Chatwin's finest creations And his story as delicately cast as one of Utz's porcelain figures is unforgettab.


Very entertaining easy read novel about a seemingly unworldly collector of Meissen porcelain the fanatic Utz living in Prague under communism But don t be misled this is a portrait of the cultural desert in the former East european bloc and an introduction into the alchemistic search that leads to the development of European porcelain and a subtle psychological portrait of people in search for love and immortality and the story of a na f author presumably Chatwin who tries to solve the mistery of the loss of the Utz collection In a way it seems Utz is the prototype of Eco s Name of the Rose Certainly a success 25 stars I don t know why or when I began to be suspicious of fiction but somewhere along the line I came to look on the reading of novels as a guilty pleasure a distraction from the business of serious reading This is an absurd notion of course and it embarrasses me to write it down The undergraduate English major still lurking somewhere deep within me is really uite shocked But I make no excuse for myself I only admit the factI ve read a lot of Bruce Chatwin and enjoyed all of it but I ve so far limited myself to his ostensibly non fiction works Admittedly the line between fiction and non fiction is a hazy one with Chatwin but I m thinking here of his travelogues like In Patagonia Curiously then it was a work of non fiction Frederik Sjoberg s The Fly Trap that sparked my interest in Utz as an example of Chatwin the novel writerI simply loved this book I read it in two enraptured sittings and was tempted to start over again from the beginning Chatwin s eccentricities are all there the story includes memorable discursions on Renaissance alchemists the origin of central European porcelain manufactures and the true nature and powers of the Prague golem but they re given fresh shape and breath in the memorable characters of Utz himself his friend Orlik and his housekeeper Marta What s I can t remember Chatwin s prose ever reading better than it does in Utz And while there s a certain pathos to the story it s also very funny as in I actually laughed out loud than once I don t know what to compare it to except maybe a Werner Herzog movie In the end Utz may feel like a guilty pleasure but only because I suspect it was written with me personally in mind Don t get fooled by the shortness of the booklet the story is uite rich We meet this self centered mr Utz on the day of his funeral through the memories of an acuaintance of his Mr Utz has been a spoiled child and an eccentric adult a bourgeoisie in a communist country He s a collector and an addicted to porcelain But the is also delusional I get the sophistication of the story but I don t get the story I ve been indifferent to Utz s struggling and suffering Set during the last years of Czechoslovakia before the end of communism this short novel is based around a meeting between the author who descends down into his own novelview spoiler rather as in his travel writing there is an interplay between the potentially real and the probably fictional so to there is an uncertain shifting between the two as though the author was seeking to both expose and cover his nakedness at the same time and blurs was seeking to both expose and cover his nakedness at the same time and blurs difference between fiction and non fiction instead in the end there is neither ust Chatwin himself or maybe there isn t hide spoiler I am among other things a dealer of 19th century porcelain and some of them Meissen so this book was unusually close to my everyday life Chatwin S Passages On The Pleasure And Insanity Of Collecting Particularly passages on the pleasure and insanity of collecting particularly intense negotiation scene were some of my favorites though I don t know how well they d translate to the collective youBut The book s treatment of Czechoslovakia is fascinating Utz himself is a pleasure of a character the book is light and funny and there s a seuence in homage to Magic Mountain that was a huge pleasure A touch OVER plotted I don t think Chatwin appreciated the oy of the simplicity of his book s first half and some really bad hair similes are the only real issues here I read it in 80 minutes Chatwin had an exceedingly interesting life and this is a good introduction to his talents Published in 1988 Utz was Chatwin s fifth novel coming after In Patagonia1977 The Viceroy of Ouidah1980 On The Black Hill1982 and The Songlines1987 It was written and published whilst Chatwin was ill and dying from AIDS It made the Booker list Like the previous novels it contains elements of being almost but not uite a travelogue and an examination of aspects of anthropology and sociology but Utz is most definetly a novelI have problems with these mythopyschoortho meta para geographers Their own arguments seem to suggest and build on the idea that if "a story is worth telling then it is worth enhancing More than that some even suggest "story is worth telling then it is worth enhancing More than that some even suggest it is better than walking Personally I would counter that this is what one naturally does when walking anyway and that the myth alone is commonly better than the spurious enhancements made by these performance artistes so what is their great fuss about For these solipsistic charlatans what is true and what is made up seem to coalesce into some frenzied mind trip of cross connections with a limited set of poetic concatenation allegedly offering a greater and deeper meaning at least in the mind of the mythographers For that reason I find it hard to accept even the beautifully written works of WG Sebald the ephemerata of Claudio Magris let alone the facile un readable ness of the faintly risible Cecile Oak Phil Smith Dr Professor who cares Chatwin comes into this group far far closer to Sebald than the others Utz is a skinny book Not much than a short story Set in Prague it concerns the obsession with Meissen porcelain that grips Utz our eponymous hero and how his collection drives and directs his life It is full of. Utz collects Meissen porcelain with a passion His collection which he has protected and enlarged through both World War II and Czechoslovakia's years of Stalinism numbers than 1000 pieces all crammed into his two room Prague flat Utz is. The ploys of all mythogeographers overloading us the readers with obscure factettes little known locations procedures and rituals that may or may not be real and that of course this is their cue for them to pipe up Who are you to say what is real and what is not At least Chatwin had the good grace to call it a novel rather than a DEEP work of social anthropology Utz too is full of this ephemerata Do we care Well maybe its ust me I actually do care enough to google some of the bollix set down as substantive fact uite often there are elements of truth commonly misconstrued or disported in a way to suggest an alternative Who IS or WAS the Emperor Rudolf What IS a tazza This is the stuff that makes Google money and sets the wheels of the search engines in frenzied motion More coal in the furnace Mr Google We need steam here My friend he said you know many things But you have many things to know Chatwin loves his mittel Europe history He also knew a shitload about art from his years as an art whore with Sothebys So he knows his subject But as the tale proceeds and the coal wagon empties you ust get tired of following all the references Borges it is not Despite all the charm that Chatwin has in my honest opinion it is NOT great prose Borges it is not I say again And once you take away all the ephemerata what you are left with is the bones of an interesting but consomme thin tale on the mania of collection something that Chatwin had observed well from Sotheby s some politically naive statements on the Prague Spring and the USSR and the outline of a book on mannerism and behaviours that were rapidly disappearing Stating this I begin to feel like the child in The Emperor s New Clothes It begins after a while to resemble a book of motettes and anecdotes like the report of a long bibulous lunch of some affable upper class well educated friends interesting and at the same time both tiresome and tedious How can one INVENT porcelain should that be RE INVENT at least One can rediscover the method of manufacture of porcelain but it s not something you invent ferfuxache And Porcelain as the Body of Christ Jesus wept It is worth reading the wiki on the history of porcelainI was reminded of a piece from Nic Roeg s excellent film Performance when the ageing rock star Turner attempts to trip up the gangster character of James Fox who is trying to hide out with Turner Fox s character says he is a uggler and Turner regales him with past medieval ongleurs and magicians throughout Europe This book feels ust like that sceneSo Utz is in the end pretty scanty and skimmily thin But it stands as an excellent piece of Chatwinian camp ephemerata It has an immediacy that is interesting but soon fails with time and excessive consumption The big reveal is the disappearance of the collection on Utz s death and the emergence of the marriage of Utz to his servant Has the collection been smashed or somehow whisked away As an afterthought and observation that life and truth are commonly stranger than fiction in 2001 Sotheby s tracked down and sold the missing porcelain collection of an obsessive Czech collector About 34 of the way in and I m finding it really easy to read It s sneakily subversive witty elegant in a uiet way and really gets its hooks into way and really gets its hooks into Absorbing slightly absurd legitimately funny and slyly knowing It was pressed on me by a drunken friend who insisted that I check it out It was also among the 5000 books namedropped by Hitchens in a personal essay though and I think he probably knew the author well so that s always a plus So far at least it s the kind of book that feels longer than its actual page or plot length "but not in a lugubrious dragging kind of way I Chatwin "not in a lugubrious dragging kind of way I Chatwin sentences are as chiseled little ewels in museum cases He s part of that wonderful tradition of chilly literary craftsmanship that counts Borges Sebald and Nabokov among its membersUtz is the first of Chatwin s fiction works I ve read and it bears much in common with his travel writing To be like ultra lame I would make the comparison between his prose and the Meissen porcelain he writes about but I m not Instead I ll say that it is brilliantly deceptively simple He ust says things with as straight a face as you can imagine And the effects stay with you for a long time after especially on that lonely train ride home especially on that return to an empty apartment I ve never read anything by Bruce Chatwin before but udging from his biography he was an interesting fellow Born in 1940 he was employed by Sotheby s to work at their art department and uickly became their expert on antiue and impressionist pieces known for his ability to discern forgeries he eventually became the director He was later hired by The Sunday Times and published articles for the magazine while traveling across the world and visiting its remote corners he published a travel book In Patagonia and several novels Utz is the last of them published in 1988 one year before the author s death from AIDSThe eponymous Utz is Kaspar Utz a man of forgettable face but unforgettable passion for porcelain figurines Utz devoted his life to collecting his porcelain treasures and ensuring their safety throughout the years and wars He keeps all thousand pieces in his small two room apartment in Prague permitted by the Czechoslovak regime to do so on the grounds that he will beueath the entire collection to the
state after his 
after his Although Utz is the main protagonist he is not the narrator the story begins with his funeral and is narrated by a man who spent a little than 9 hours with Utz when he was alive and collected the rest from his few friendsThe narrator first came to Prague to research a book about the psychology of collectors which drew him to Utz a Jewish man possibly descended from some minor Saxon nobility and. Allowed to leave the country each year and although he has considered defection he always returns He cannot take his precious collection with him but he cannot leave it either And so Utz is as much owned by his porcelain as it is owned.
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Utz By Bruce Chatwin

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