I am going to join with my buddy Paddy and leave a few thoughts about The Painted Bird. Before I do however, I just want to let everyone know that the WOP is continuing his downward quest for less of himself. I scaled in today at 236.7 lbs. I began the trip at 255.
I agree with Paddy that we are all barbarians just below the surface. A lot of apparant barbarism seemed to rise to the surface in TPB and tells us a lot about ourselves. Maybe Hobbes was right and we are nothing but "selfish brutish beasts". The question is, can we be more? I live my life hoping that we can and trying to be better. I could be a fool. I don't know.
I do believe that there is a truth to TPB that is powerful and stiring. I dont think Kosinski ever intended the book to be a memoir or journal of his actual life.
It gives us a glimpse of life in a part of the world where the savagery of life is much closer to the surface. Whether Kosinski himself actually experienced every outrage that the boy in the story suffered is really not important. The question is, did the world he describe reflect a reality with the ring of truth? Just as Paddy seems to always attack my story telling for its lack of exact reproduction of the events I describe, there is no question that the stories ring true and illuminate the human condition through the prism of my consciousness. I think the same thing is as work in TPB and in fact all fiction that has a ring of truth to it.
Just once last comment, my wife seems to think that TPB is pornographic. How about some comments on that idea.