Living Like Cats

Kevin Power at the Dublin Review of Books:

But let’s say it again: to call Gray a misanthrope or a reactionary or a nationalist (or to apply to him any other term from the vocabulary of contemporary political morality) is to miss the point. His books are not attacks on humanity as such. Nor is he tubthumping for a particular politics or even a particular morality (I’ll come in a moment to the question of whether or not a specific politics can or should be extracted from Gray’s work). Instead, his books are in the first instance the record of an honourable attempt to discover what can be said about human beings if we dispense, as thoroughly as we can, with the things that human beings have said about themselves. To step out of Gray’s Total Perspective Vortex and ask, “But what’s left?” is to misunderstand the purpose of the Vortex. What’s left, when Gray is finished, is everything: life, death, nature, the universe. All there is, in other words. The point is the seeing. In the final sentence of Straw Dogs, he asks, “Can we not think of the aim of life as being simply to see?”

more here.