Chekhov is engaging with an underlying, rumbling, non-event that pervades life and yet is nearly always blithely ignored. His stories move us in their ability to excavate this subterranean, haunting static that informs all experience.
The Father is the wielder of profuse potency but it can only be maintained through distance and the renunciation of understanding, the willingness to embrace the mystery without examining it. But, necessarily, the child must penetrate that veil.
What does it mean, ontologically and narratively, when the seeming finality of death disappears from our stories? What does it mean when our stories and our characters, unlike our lives, refuse to come to an end?
The Order of Time is a little wonder of a book. It provides surprising insights into an increasingly mysterious world, offers warmly humane reflections on our existential condition, and sustains a virtual conversation that will continue long after the reading has ceased.
For Plutarch, life and the course of history insist that we face up to who we are and this is as harrowing as it is liberating; it is the source of our destruction as much as it is the springboard for our accomplishments.
As a history of ideas, this work is especially good at mapping the Vienna Circle's fascinating afterlife in the English-speaking countries where many prominent thinkers landed and flourished in the 20th century.