On Flowers and People

The Portuguese writer Afonso Cruz has introduced his book Flowers at Book World Prague - it has more to say about people than plants.

"Flowers accompany us throughout our lives, from birth till death. We give flowers at weddings, funerals and other important life events. Flowers are something like a calendar of our lives and can also express our psychological state," Afonso Cruz explained why flowers play an important role in his book and why its main characters have names based on them. The story is that of a man in midlife crisis, who decides to help his aging neighbour who is losing his memory and tries to revive it. "That man doesn't remember his first kiss and other important moments of his life, and he feels that as he loses his memory, his identity fades with it," Afonzo added. The main theme of this year's Book World Prague was memory and reminiscence, which made the topic very fitting indeed, and an interesting debate ensued. 

One of the questions asked was if memory is synonymous with our identity. "Even when we lose our reminiscences, it's still us. Memory is definitely a part of our identity, but it's not the only thing that constitutes us," Afonzo explained his perspective. "Some religions - Buddhism for one - don't believe in any identity at all. And memory? It's elastic, it changes," he added. Interesting thoughts, interesting writer, interesting novel. A fully blossomed and yet disturbing novel about, among other things, memory - as the book's subtitle goes - has proved highly attractive with the book-fair visitors.