Artistic Exploration: Seeking Ultimate Paradise

“To Paradise” by Hanya Yanagihara

The power of art lies in its ability to reveal the common threads of our human experience and transcend individual narratives. Recently, Piya Chattopadhyay’s Sunday Magazine on CBC Radio featured a series of intertwined segments to create a captivating dialogue. One of her guests was Hanya Yanagihara, the author of “To Paradise,” a novel that delves into themes of freedom, utopia, borders, and disease across three centuries, viewed through three distinct reimagined American histories embodied by couples from diverse backgrounds. Yanagihara also examines the societal impact on males, compelling them to suppress emotions, and reflects on the detrimental effects of societal expectations on males, forcing them to hide their feelings.

“Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig

Piya’s next guest was John Koenig, the author of the “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.” Koenig has created words for previously unnamed feelings by combining elements from various languages and demonstrating how each language contributes a unique perspective, enriching our understanding of the world.

“The Next Civil War: Dispatches from the American Future” by Stephen Marche

Stephen Marche, the author of “The Next Civil War: Dispatches from the American Future,” was another guest on Piya’s show. Marche aims to illuminate the current state of US politics by analyzing data and consulting experts, emphasizing the speculative nature of his non-fiction work. This mirrors the imaginative fiction of Yanagihara, both rooted in reality yet acknowledging the inability to predict the future.

Connection: Pursuit of Paradise

Yanagihara’s exploration of the pursuit of “paradise” and the symbolism of the United States as its embodiment is akin to the universal human quest for a world free from violence, war, and disease. She suggests that despite earthly challenges, each individual has the potential to rediscover paradise, echoing the sentiment in the weekly Sabbath ritual, which provides a temporary escape from daily concerns and creates a momentary paradise.

Overall, the desire for a world free from violence, war, and disease is a collective human pursuit, and it persists as the ultimate paradise, an earnest prayer shared by humanity.

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