David lent me William Boyd’s The New Confessions. i started it last night and have spent most of today lying in bed, reading with great pleasure. i haven’t read anything else by Boyd, though i know the name – i assume all famous living literary novelists are shameless hucksters with good PR, so it takes a lot to persuade me to read anything by anyone still alive. But this is good – very good.

It is well-written and all that but if i had to explain why i like it, i would say that it just feels true, in its fiction. i don’t forget it is fiction – for example, in the 20s the hero misquotes a line from ‘Burnt Norton, which i think dates from the mid to late 30s; but the essential patterning feels true, nonetheless.

The more i know of the mechanics of reincarnation – the kind of deeper energies that play out in our lives, and across lives – the more i respond to the harmonies and disharmonies of fiction, thinking “this feels true”, that is, a good fiction feels plausible to me, as how life actually is, in the depths. An obvious example is Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours trilogy films – i assume Kieślowski knew nothing of what really happens in reincarnation, but these films come close to the way our lives are actually patterned. Paul Newall writes:

The subject of Red is fraternity, at least on the surface, but Kieślowski himself stated that “the essential question the film asked is: is it possible to repair a mistake which was committed somewhere high above?”

So many erring lives repeat themselves in variations, trying out different possibilities – to repair the original mistake; and often escape an old darkness through unsuspected conjunctions, with other lives. My own elberry life is in some ways a replay of my last, an attempt on the same difficulties, from a different angle. So Newall, writing of the judge in Rouge:

“Deciding what is true and what isn’t”, he says, “now seems to me a lack of modesty.” This passage is key to understanding the trilogy and Kieślowski’s oeuvre as a whole: all judgements are too soon and everyone can be saved by the smallest of gestures.

i have, of old, been in love with judgement. It is difficult for me to accept muddle, compromise, imperfection; but our human judgements are so limited, so flawed, i have had to become comfortable with glimpses, suggestion, possibility. Certainty can wait; certainty is not, in a sense, a human matter. So i learn the hard art of modesty.

When i moved into my Philosophenweg flat, i found half a dozen postcards glued to the door. Sophie, the previous inhabitant, doesn’t want them back, so i binned all but one – ‘Iris’ by one Jan F Welker – as it looks uncannily like the German girl, now resident in Vienna, who i am now sure was a sister in my last life. i have never met her, and we only came into contact “by chance, as we say in Middle Earth” via blogs – but she has been important to me, in many ways, in this and the last life; and so i wasn’t too surprised to hear she once knew Morgana. i don’t know the full pattern but i feel optimistic that an original mistake can be corrected, desire remade, and even an elberry saved.