Artistic Exploration: Seeking Ultimate Paradise

Art unveils the shared threads of our human experience, transcending individual narratives. After immersing myself in Piya Chattopadhyay‘s Sunday Magazine on CBC Radio, a compelling urge to correspond with her arose. Each segment stood out independently, yet collectively, they wove a captivating dialogue.

In her latest literary masterpiece, “To Paradise,” Hanya Yanagihara, deeply rooted in Hawaii, discusses profoundly with Piya. The novel explores 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 delves into the societal impact on males, compelling them to suppress emotions. Yanagihara also reflects on the detrimental effects of societal expectations on males, forcing them to hide their feelings.

Piya’s subsequent guest, John Koenig, author of the “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows,” explained his creation of words for previously unnamed feelings. By combining elements from various languages, Koenig demonstrates how each language contributes a unique perspective, enriching our understanding of the world.

Following this, Piya conversed with Stephen Marche, author of “The Next Civil War: Dispatches from the American Future.” March, aiming to illuminate the current state of US politics, analyzes data and consults 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.

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—the ultimate paradise. Reflecting on the biblical story of Adam and Eve, Yanagihara suggests that despite earthly challenges, each individual has the potential to rediscover paradise. This sentiment echoes in the weekly Sabbath ritual, temporarily escaping daily concerns and creating a momentary paradise.

On a larger scale, the collective human desire for a world free from violence, war, and disease persists as the ultimate paradise—an earnest prayer and pursuit shared by humanity.

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