It follows the unsuccessful struggle of Ivan Osokin to correct his mistakes when given a chance to relive his past. The novel serves as a narrative platform for Nietzsche 's theory of eternal recurrence [ citation needed ]. The conclusion fully anticipates the Fourth Way Philosophy which typified Ouspensky's later works [ citation needed ]. The title derives the experience of Ivan Osokin living and then reliving his life again in exactly the same way but with prior knowledge of his past mistakes the second time. The title is an ironic commentary on this experience.
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Return to Book Page. Strange Life of Ivan Osokin by P. Set in Moscow and Paris, Ouspensky's only full-length novel explores the theme of "eternal recurrence", a theory of time developed in Ouspensky's classic book A New Model of the Universe.
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Dec 03, Reid rated it it was amazing Shelves: literature-classics , self-help , psychology , 5-stars , review , fantasy , I don't know if we have free will, I wonder about it, and there are many philosophers and scientists on both sides of the arguments, so I'm not alone. Ivan Osokin, the memorable young Russian character living the strange life of eternal recurrence in this well written novel, seems to be someone who maybe believes in free will but certainly doesn't practice it, at least not in an affirmative way.
Most of his choices are negations, the lack of action, but worse than that is he lives his life over I don't know if we have free will, I wonder about it, and there are many philosophers and scientists on both sides of the arguments, so I'm not alone. Most of his choices are negations, the lack of action, but worse than that is he lives his life over and over, between the ages of 14 and 26, without the possibility of changing any outcome. He's assured of this lack of change by his magician acquaintance, who makes this eternal return possible, but Osokin doesn't quite believe him and hopes to change, to his eternal frustration and chagrin.
Why can't he change? Does this seem true to you? If we have free will to make free choices, why aren't we all the best reviewer on goodreads? Why aren't we all millionaires or astronauts, or whatever? You have the freedom of information, you have the brain, why don't you have everything that you supposedly want?
Did you really freely choose the career you're in, among all the possible careers in the world? Why not, if you truly have free will? And if you've changed careers, or spouses, did you really freely choose these options, or were they simply ever constraining options rather than free choices?
Why do our supposed free choices often lead to suffering, and why can't we freely choose to not suffer instead? The Russian mystic author, Ouspensky, in fact apparently believed in free will, but he also knew how extremely difficult it is to enact it.
He wrote this, his only novel, to give you a glimpse of what it takes to change, and a glimpse of the difference, perhaps, between free will and the lack of it, between embracing life actively as it is, or forever being a slave, whether to internal or external factors. The theme of reliving life is common in literature, but this has to be one of the more authentic personal life-like versions.
You should meet Ivan Osokin. Perhaps you know him already. Mar 04, Capsguy rated it liked it Shelves: russian. Eh, not altogether bad. The prose itself is less than average in comparison to the quality of work I generally read, in comparison to genre-fiction this would be better than average , however I found the little life lessons an enjoyable thing to consume this afternoon. Certainly does make the reader think about the monotony of life, and how we really don't have a choice, but it's not something I'd live my life by.
The preaching at the end was justified, since it was sharp and straight to the poin Eh, not altogether bad. The preaching at the end was justified, since it was sharp and straight to the point.
Definitely not re-read quality for me, but I'm glad I took the time to check out this little known classic. Jun 29, Bettie rated it it was amazing Shelves: noir , shortstory-shortstories-novellas , philosophy , magical-realism , slavic , published This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Stunningly executed, and no, Groundhog Day does not equate. View all 8 comments.
Dec 06, Scot rated it really liked it Shelves: spiritual , fiction. A mind-stretching story of recurrence - the concept that we continue to repeat the same life over and over again, not quite reincarnation, actually repeating the same life. The main character has the chance to go back 12 years in life and struggles to do anything different no matter how much he wants to.
Eerie when you apply it to your life, the book gets into your head a little and you start to think about in a way where this could be real, this could be me. Worth a read for anyone familiar wit A mind-stretching story of recurrence - the concept that we continue to repeat the same life over and over again, not quite reincarnation, actually repeating the same life.
Worth a read for anyone familiar with the ideas of GI Gurdjieff, fans of Russian literature, or general spiritual seekers who like to intake new info via fiction, not just holy books. Note, though the Goodreads entry lists the author as Pyotr Uspensky, he is more commonly referred to in the anglicized version of his name, P.
Jun 16, Wendy rated it liked it. I found this book to be odd and frustrating. As a whole I loved the writing, but I felt that the main character made the book so frustrating to read! It gave the novel is school yard feel that totally killed it for me. Still, a good read. Nov 19, michel rated it it was amazing Shelves: all-time-favorites , rereading.
Apr 07, Joyce Pavao rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-read-recently. View 1 comment. Aug 12, Flowquietly rated it it was amazing. Apr 15, mytwocents rated it really liked it.
What Richard Bach could never achieve. Contemporary writing with timeless truths, although the mysticism isn't too well incorporated into the novella form. Jul 24, Tamas Czegeny rated it it was amazing Shelves: special. Probably 3. For much of the book, I found it a rather painful read. How often have we done the wrong thing, knowing better and wi Probably 3.
How often have we done the wrong thing, knowing better and wishing we could DO better, or realizing our error so immediately after the fact that we beat ourselves up all the more brutally? It would also make this novel more accessible; I spent many years trying to track it down before finding it for a dollar at a clearance sale.
But whether through a fault of the author or the translation, the cinematic elements only sporadically appear, seeming more like non-sequiturs or vestiges of a defunct intent. Why, though, would Ouspensky introduce the cinematic element in the first place?
Is it the fact that characters in a film will play out the same actions no matter how often the film is shown, or is it an allusion to the endless repetitions of early film loops and even praxinoscopes the novel was first published in and takes place in the years , the very earliest years of the cinema?
I can only guess. Would I recommend it? You may find Osokin tiresome in of himself, but you may also see many of his most tiresome qualities in your own behavior.
Nov 30, Sally rated it really liked it Shelves: 20th-century-literature , russian-literature. Ivan Osokin is seeing the girl he loves off at the station; he can't accede to her requests that he accompany her as he's almost broke. And she warns she won't wait for him more than a couple of months. When she finally becomes engaged to another, Osokin is suicidal; he pays a visit to a mystical man in town where he bemoans the fact that he can't live his life over.
If he only had his time again, he'd avoid expulsion from school, alienating his rich uncle, bad behaviour in the army and frittering away a life-saving inheritance in casinos.
STRANGE LIFE OF IVAN OSOKIN Review
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But this evening, typing up my thoughts on P. Moscow, Ivan Osokin bids the woman he loves, Zinaida Krutitsky, farewell; she is leaving on a trip to the Crimea and he is not coming, professing his own poverty and in spite of her own frustrations. Wrestling with his decision not to go, he writes her every day, but receives only sporadic responses. After three months, she stops writing back, and through a chance encounter with her brother, he learns she is going to marry another man. Devastated, he visits a magician he knows and, after relating the troubles of his life, expresses a desire to live his life over, but with the knowledge of what will happen, so that he can make the right choices going forward. Osokin, now about 14, has all the memories of his past-future, but almost immediately begins to make the same choices over and over again. Worse, he can see his own bad choices coming, but for one reason or another cannot avert them.
Strange Life of Ivan Osokin
ISBN 13: 9780571095872
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