Reveries of the Solitary Walker
He was an idealist. On the whole his theory about early humans, what we would now call hunter gatherers, was off the…
What the hell did I read? That book was popping up on different websites I visit based on my reading pattern and liked books, so finally, I decided to give it a try. And I don’t remember the last time I read such an infuriating book — I was ready to throw it across the room on numerous occasions, but somehow I managed to finish it. I held my anger mostly for spite, so I can criticize it with a clear conscience.
There are very good parts to this book. Mostly those with a description of nature and reactions to it. Concise explanation of how important it is to slow down and just look closely — nature doesn’t hurry, and we need to adjust our internal clocks to it. There were some acute and relatable observations about how any politics and any politicians are inherently evil. Necessary, but rotten to the core.
But mostly this book presents the long-winded whining of a megalomaniacal, hypocritical buffoon. Me, me, me, me… Look at me, look how great I am, look how generous and kind I am (literally a page before explaining that he changed his walking habits to avoid a cripple boy he befriended, so he doesn’t have to talk to him anymore). Look how virtuous I am, how I sacrificed my life for art and the truth (not telling that he gave up his five children to the orphanage after they were born). Look like how everyone is out to get me, look like everyone — including those who still support me — is a fraud and a fake friend. Look how I am pure of heart and never hurt anyone, and look like they are hounding me and abusing me. And look like I magnanimously forgive them in spite of their torments. The egocentrism and self-righteousness in this book was just sickening.
There is a saying that if you meet an asshole at work, you just met an asshole. But if all day everyone you meet is an asshole, that means you are the asshole — and a good look in the mirror is necessary. And if the author of this book was really shunned by his friends and acquaintances — he himself presented a good and convincing cause why they would do it. For me, I would avoid a toxic person like him like a plague.