In the Country of Last Things

"All this belongs to the language of ghosts.  There are many other possible kinds of talks in this language.  Most of them begin when one person says to another: I wish.  What they wish for might be anything at all, as long as it is something that cannot happen.  I wish the sun would never set.  I wish money would grow in my pockets.  I wish the city would be like it was in the old days.  You get the idea.  Absurd and infantile things, with no meaning and no reality.  In general people hold to the belief that however bad things were yesterday, they were better than things are today.  What they were like two days ago was even better than yesterday.  The farther you go back, the more beautiful and desirable the world becomes.  You drag yourself from sleep each morning to face something that is always worse than what you faced the day before,….."

This is an excerpt taken from Paul Auster’s "In the Country of Last Things".

In the light of this short extract, can you try to figure out the meaning of the title?

Write at least one of you wishes, in line with the ones written by the narrator above.  Ideally, I would appreciate if you tried to write more than one.

Write at least a paragraph that completes the excerpt above. 

Go on working folks.  It seems that you are all asleep!!! Haven’t seen any posts yet.

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50 risposte a In the Country of Last Things

  1. anonimo scrive:

    Arnoldi Martina

    “In the country of last thigs”,it means lots of things.The country where the past ist better then the present,the country with a lack of positivism,the country where we miss something/someone who belong to the past,the country of regret,the country of thoughts,the country of ideals,the country of wishes but also the country in the light of the future.

    My wishes concerns my values:family,health,love,study.All this belong to realize myself.All my values are connected one with the other.I have different dreams but sometime a wish goes against a value.It could be that I should take a decision to realise a wish but I know that I make a wrong to someone.One of my biggest wish is to be considered for what I do.I am sure about a thing,I have only reasonable dreams.”I don’t want the moon”.

  2. anonimo scrive:

    The title “In the coutry of last things”is not simple to interpret because there is in it a very deep meaning.Is something like interpret a dream.I think that this title want to highlight the “nostalgic”nature of the human kind.The man who lives the present look back to his past and the past of the generation as he wants to find a kind of consolation.we have fear to face the present so we look back to the past and to our wishes.It is no a coincidence that today many people think that it was better when they had fewer comfort but more ideals and hopes.So we realize that more time is past and more the things looks better than now.But unfortunately we can t live of memories so we have to find the strenght to look to the present of our action and desire not to return to the past but have a better future. As all human beings I have many wishes.I wish that one day i could create a family(very difficult nowadays!)I wish to succeed as a person.I wish to always be myself.I wish to be surrounded by love.I wish i will able to appreciate simple things of life as i do now.I wish i will always smile. Guarino Ilaria

  3. anonimo scrive:

    I disagree with the thought of Mr Paul Auster because i think that the past is over,it could help us to see our mistakes and to live the present better than the past! The life is the most beautiful thing because it is lived intensely every day without knowing what tomorrow will be..

    I wish money would grow in my pockets but i know that now and in the future will be impossible!

    I wish to be always happy and to live in a world where sun and moon exists…..

    Santarossa Barbara

  4. anonimo scrive:

    Even after reading the extract it’s not easy to understand what Auster means by “Last things”: they could be either the last things that people have done and now they regret, or the last things they have thought about and now wish they could happen.Anyway,in both cases,it’s clear what the author thinks about them:they are simply unreal,as they are just imaginary things,actions,desires that you can really touch with your fingers.Living thinking that the day will come tomorrow will be worse than the days you have passed,it’s something useless to think,in the author’s opinion.In mine,it will lead you only to suicide,at the end! it’s not the right way to think, because your actions are fully connected with your thoughts,so,if they are negative,oppressive,dark,melancolhic,also your behaviours will be the same.And that’s not positive,mainly for people who might stay near and help you.

    I have no intention to write some plain wishes without any particular meaning for me, so ,as my deep wishes are only mine,i’m afraid i won’t tell them in this blog,i’m sorry =)


  5. anonimo scrive:

    Ok, Simone, I respect the idea that you do not want to share your wishes with other people. However, please do it in your log, I won’t read them!

    Barbara, mind you: the author is not always the narrator. You do not know who the narrator of the novel is, so be careful, it may not coincide with Paul Auster. So next time, try to remember it is an excerpt taken from a novel and not a quotation taken from an interview!

    See you in class.

    Please tell your fellow classmates that they need to work, I have not seen their comments yet!!

  6. anonimo scrive:

    I wish I was born one hundred years ago. Why? It’s simple: no frenetic life, no planned meeting, no tricks. Not today’s reality. I know that in the last 100 years so many things happen and lots of things got better (and they will get better than now). But where is the “simple life”? I would like to wake up, one of this morning, and decide to go out for a walk. Technically I can do this, but then? I have to recover what I didn’t do in that day.

    I think that the author wants to underline the importance of everyday-things. Everyone knows what a sunset is, but how many people left their business (for a day or less) for watching the sunset or the dawn? How many of them caught the magic that is inside the colour of the sky? Our world is too frenetic. Could I arrive late and tell my boss that I arrived later because I feel the harmony in the sky watching the sunset? I will get fired in a second. Today’s reality do not include nature.

    I think that Auster want to let us think about what we are loosing because of our way of living. The “last things” are the simple things that we are loosing sight of. “The farther you go back, the more beautiful and desirable the world becomes”. A hundred years ago there was the culture of silence, patience, happiness. And now? Uproar, hysteria, dejection.

    We cannot face a natural view. Nowdays we are not able to watch something completely “natural”: we need something “built” to disturb this fairy scenery.

    I wish I wake up in an another country tomorrow. I wish I do not have to go to school tomorrow. I wish I could close my eyes now and reopen them, watching a lake, near the pick of the Everest. I wish I could listen to a song (that I listen everyday absent-mindedly) and understand every word and feel every feeling. I wish I had more time to wish.

    Elena Poles

  7. anonimo scrive:

    The title of the book makes me think of a plot based on memory and remembrance of things that now belongs to the past and can’t come back again.

    …I wish days would have 30 hours. I wish lions would understand that gazelles are animal like them and could play with them, instead of eating them. I wish I would close my eyes and transport myself on the other side of the world. I wish it would be spring for the whole year. I wish fairies would exist. I wish my dogs could speak. I wish death people could talk with living people. I wish I could realize all these desires.

    To finish the paragraph reported, I would add: “Looking at memories is always sweet, also pain seems to be less strong than the feelings of the moment. But is it true? This conviction is part of man nature, which consists in transforming bad things in good things. The farther you go back, the more beautiful and desirable the world becomes.

    Giulia Marcassa

  8. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    I read nice wishes. By reading them I realized a huge incoherence on my part. I asked you to write about your wishes and I did not share mine with you. Well, I have a long list of wishes, folks, too long to write them all. Some are far-fetching, utopistic and somehow childish (to be read as innocent), others may be read as more mature. I wish I could get rid of the nightmares that are still plaguing my existence (impossible, but a wish!!!), there are some that seem so deeply rooted in my psyche. I wish I could have been brought up in a tension-free and balanced environment, where the key word was respect and love, support and confidence, caring and warmth, laughter and joy, nitty gritty an environment without “negative feelings”. I wish I could face my fears one day and laugh at them. They would feel so offended and leave me alone. I wish I could become a powerful person and use my power to create peace and put an end to the manifold wars that shock my daily existence. I wish I could not be bothered by impoliteness and gratuitous nastiness. I wish I could stop eating nutella, it is making my hips bigger and bigger. I wish I could take a sabbatical year from school and go to a developing country and work there. I wish I could look into the eyes of starving child and not feel the painful burden of the civilization I belong to. I wish I had studied more when I was a student, I would know many more things now. I wish I did not have to spend so much of my time marking and checking my students’ homework/tests, I would have more time for my reading. I wish I could find the courage to write and unlock my feelings. I wish I could dance and sing well. I wish I could play a musical instrument (either the drums or the piano, quite undecided, would like both, but perhaps that’s asking too much). I wish I could stand up when a person hurts me and let the person know what I really think. I wish my brother would find his own way. I wish my godson would grow strong and independent.

    I told you, I’ve got a long list of wishes. Now I must put an end to this long list because they are kicking me out of the computer roommmmmmmm!

    This list is dedicated to Simone.

  9. anonimo scrive:

    it is true, we are used to looking back to our past with a sense of nostalgia, but I don’t think it is the right way of facing life: first of all, our mind could have cancelled bad things of our past, or day by day they could have improved so that they do not seem to have ever been too harsh, but actually, at that very moment, they were! if we take it for granted, that tomorrow will necessarily be worse that today, well, is it worth going on? I mean, what is life without hope, without new goals? And, since happiness is always our first objective…are we wasting our time trying to improve our condition? I do not want to think so. I prefer to suppose that “the country of last things” is just a place were the take refuge when we are upset, disappointed, but actually we don’t believe in it. Of course, if our wishes are absurd, we will never be satisfied! For example, I wish I were taller 🙂 Seriously, i wish i knew what to do after the exams…

    federica zille

  10. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Nice comment Federica. You are right, looking back does not necessarily help your positive thinking.

    ALL OF YOU, check up in wikepedia or wherever you wish what “dystopia” is. I had already mentioned it to you in class, but I am sure lots of you have forgotten about it. The extract I asked you to comment on is taken from a dystopic novel. SO…..

  11. anonimo scrive:

    While I was reading this except, I thought to the philosopher Rosseau: he claimed that the progress is a negative process and that the man was happier in the “state of nature”. I can also quote Verga: he was against the industrialization, because he believed in different values: family, work, solidarity, unity, not in money, benefits or selfishness.

    Saying that I would say that Auster’s thought could be this: we must live our life in a right way; we must think that we can’t come back in the past, so we must take action in according to our feelings, the most positive they are. In my opinion, Auster would say that, with our behaviours, we had lost the beauty of our human kind.

    I can say that I agree with Verga’s thought; I wish in a non corrupt and right world (maybe impossible). I wish I could live “surrounded” by sincerity, by helpfulness. I’m also agree with Elena’s quotation. I wish I could close my eyes and see the waves, the sea; see that the world could go ahead in a different way. I know that these are only hoper, but hoping is free.

    Monica Santi

  12. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Monica, you are right. We don’t pay any money to express our hopes. Hopes are our driving force, so why should we live them unexpressed?

    We can make only conjectures of what Auster may think, since we can glean just a little tiny bit of his thoughts from the very short and few quotations I have posted. The more we will be reading about him and by him, the more we will be able to “delve” into “his” world.

    Perhaps he would not use the verb “must” as often as you do!!!

    See you on Monday. Hope my plane won’t crash. Should it happen, then, what a CHANCE!

    Keep my fingers crossed it won’t happen. Looking forward to seeing you all. I must confess I missed you. Strange, but true. I know it hasn’t been the same, but we poor teachers are not much loved by our students, are we?

  13. anonimo scrive:

    With the title “In the Country of Last Thing” I think the author would summarize the proceeding by exoticism that our mind do every day, remembering things and situations which are already passed. In fact we tend to look back our shoulders in a idealistic way, searching what we feel at a loss in that moments, even if that hadn’t really happened. I WISH the winter would never arrive. I wish the youthness would never finish. But at the same time I hope my life could “bloom” as a fantastic yellow flower, which can feel the warm rays of the sun in every single day of its summer…in order to appreciate the complexity miracle called “existance”.

    Carolina Braghin

  14. anonimo scrive:

    In this extract Paul Auster reflected on the role of memory and imagination as an escape from reality. People want the impossible unreachable and always remember the past in a positive way, like a happiest moment of this life. All people, with time, filter memories with their emotions and tend to make them sweeter and happier. Each of us becomes “laudator temporis acti” that is a person who praises the past. This vision is very similar to Leopardi’s vision: man escapes to the sufferings of this through the imagination or memory.


  15. anonimo scrive:

    I think that we have to be positive in our lives. Perhaps in the past we were be better than now,but nobody can be sure of this. In my life I try always to find the positive aspect on the things I do and to learn from the mistakes I made in the past. I disagree with what the quotation is about,but I liked it because Auster reflects on the optimistic vision of life that we commonly have. Be positive does not mean be optimistic; for me,optimistic means that you think that all is good and beautiful, without consider the negative aspect of the things. A positive person is someone who has a realistic vision of the life,considering its good and bad aspects,but trying always to find out the beautiful things that the live gives him. People nowadays should be more realistic and think about the consequences of their actions. The bad things can happen in the present and in the future, how they are happened in the past.

    The title is an advice: we don’t know what the future is about and so we have to live thinking that every day is special,every day won’t return,every day is different.

    I want to finish the school with a good note and to go to the university. I’m determined to realize those things now.

    I’m sorry if my comment is so long,but this quotation made me think about those things.

    Canzi Giulia

  16. anonimo scrive:

    Past is certainly one of thoughts in which people often take refuge… for different reason: someone wants to relive past moments, someone have the perception that it was better than the present, someone would be able to go back and maybe now is torturing himself with a thousands questions like “What would have happened if I had done in another way?”. I think “the country of last things” means this: past is certainly something that evokes in our minds a large number of thoughts and memories, sometimes overshadowed by the passage of time…

    If I have to express a wish, I would we all could take life with more calm and tranquility: without realizing, we have become “slaves of time” in a too frenetic context, in which even take breath is sometimes difficult.

    Federica Cozzarin

  17. anonimo scrive:

    I think that the ‘last things’ in the title of the book refers to the disappearance of the objects and to the fading of culture and memories, as it could happen in an imaginary country where everything exists for the last time, a hopeless place that is the end of everything, where one day things will disappear and never come back.

    Auster says: “The farther you go back, the more beautiful and desirable the world becomes”. This quotation implies in his nature a question: was the past really better? I’m sure that there were better times and worst time, and the problem now is that the only real comparison we can make is with what we have lived through. A lot of what people talk about seems to be just about how good things were in the past, and this idea really bothers me. It’s undeniable that there really were better aspects of life before the present (I think about the 60s, when music meant something and films were the artwork of demons, not just the commercial stuffs you see now; I think about the past as a place where we had more time to be who we were and less time to be what others perceived us to be), but all the comparisons we can make are not true: that’s because everythings gets better as you become more distant from it (a problem of memory). The bad things start to slip away, and you only remember the good things because, as human beings, we have a tendency to filter out the negative things.

    I personally wish we could leave in a world that was free of other’s criticism, a world with freedom of choice where you can realize yourself without being obstructed, a world free from tyranny, a world of respect, tollerance and nonviolence. I also wish that peace was real, because it seems always more a dream.

    Alessandro Piccin

  18. anonimo scrive:

    For me “Last” in a rank are the things we have compared with the things we would have in our life; maybe my vision is influenced by philosophers and writers but I think that every human being has a huge difficulty to be in equilibrium with the world and with itself, so it’s a continuous search of peace but I also think that soon or late we can reach it.

    I don’t have wishes I only have objectives. I think that a wish is something you wait to happen and it isn’t in my nature.

  19. MicheleDB scrive:

    I think that the extract from “In the country of last things” doesn’t explain the point of view of the autor nor the narrator but how the present is seen from a lot of people, so the text is a consideration on the common manner to see reality and the world that is surrounding ourselves. According to your last demand i would continue the extract in that way: ….what you faced the day before, day after day everything you see cause you a state of disgust. You can’t give up but you don’t know the reason why, and at the same time you look at the other people understanding that they drag theirselves and carry life as it is, too. You can’t see the choice to change, you’re waitng for something bad, for another bad news, for something that will make things worse. Once you realized the situation you can decide to coexist or to fight to obtain something different and maybe better.

    I know that what I’ve written is very pessimistic but it does not reflect my thought, as a matter of fact I have a different vision of the wolrd and the way the world’s situation can change our lives. In my opinion its (of the world) influence is low (not at all, namely, not for everything).

    Howerver it remains the consciousness that everyday something is missing and something is change. I think that is the meaning the narrator would have given to the title: you can’t have back “past” things; everything turns into something else (worse or better).

    In conclusion I want write my wishes even if they seems to be too material or to abstract and impossible to realize:

    I wish I could so rich as I can buy everything, I wish I cuold travel all over the world, I wish I could do something to improve the life situation of poor people, I wish I cuold find something that could be useful for all the umanity.

  20. anonimo scrive:

    “Country of Last things”:through these words Paul Auster defines our world, our society and somehow criticizes us. I don’t think he’s right. His vision is too pessimistic, in his opinion the most of our wishes are “infantile” and “absurd” but is it possible to live without these infantile and absurd wishes? In my opinion it isn’t, we all need to believe in them, they give us a reason to be positive.

    On the contrary, I agree with him when he says that people often think that the past was better than the present, but I disagree with those people: how cuold they forget the wars, the different lifestyles, the economic conditions and the social differences? It’s true, most of these problems exist even nowadays but it isn’t the same of course..

    I wish I would never have regrets in my life, I wish I wuold get soon my driving licence 🙂 ..and I wish all the people I know would always be happy.. Perhaps it’s absurd but I really hope it.

    ..”but then you undestand you’re lucky: you’re going to face something worse than yesterday.. But you’re going to face it!”

  21. anonimo scrive:

    Reading the title of the book I’ve thought about regrets and remorse, something of the past. Something we want but can’t either have or never again have. It is simple for many of us think that past is better than present because we remember only good things, forgetting bad things. I don’t think that past is always better than the present; the past is passed: we can learn from our mistakes, but we have to think of the present that we are living.

    In spite of that sometimes I find pleasant think about the past, fool myself into memories even if I know that I can’t take back my mistakes.

    In conclusion I wish we could live in a world without poverty and discrimination; a world where there were no wars, were everyone were free. Nowadays this is an utopia, but maybe, one day, things will change.

    Federica Battistin

  22. anonimo scrive:

    “In the country of the last things” happen unreal things. Everyone want that this things are going to realize.Certainly is an irreal world, not feasible.

    Bad things belong to the past and there are things that are to forget. We have to look to the future. Present brings good things and realizable one.

    My future have to be full of practical things and not dreams. Practical things bring me to a life of certainty that i have already in my mind,certainly a life very different from what i live now.


  23. anonimo scrive:

    ok, since i was asked to( ooh the teacher dedicated me a post!thank you teacher:D), i’m going to write a list of my wishes, but not directly through my own words, because i can’t explain them as well as a music lyrics can do!!so, this is what i truly wish:

    I wish I was a neutron bomb, for once I could go off.

    I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on.

    I wish I was a sentimental ornamnet you hung on

    The christmas tree, I wish I was the star that went on top,

    I wish I was the evidence

    I wish I was the grounds for fifty million hands up raised and opened toward the sky.

    I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me.

    I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me.

    I wish I was a messenger, and all the news is good.

    I wish I was the full moon shining off your camaro’s hood.

    I wish I was an alien, at home behind the sun,

    I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on.

    I wish I was the pedal break that you depended on.

    I wish I was the verb to trust, and never let you down.

    I wish I was the radio song, the one that you turned up,

    I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish,

    I guess it never stops.

    ( Pearl Jam – Wishlist)

    I know,those aren’t my own words, as they represent just some of my endless wishes…but i couldn’t list them in such a poetic way =)

    this song is beautiful, not only for the words, so i recommend to everyone to listen to it, unless you already know it!

    and…to answer to Prof Ziraldo…don’t worry, i have two blogs where i usually write my wishes (well,not all of them!) whenever i need to, so i’m really fed up with doing that:)

    Here i would like to do something different and i’ve decided to present my thoughts through someone else’s words. I’m sure it’s not forbidden!

    thanks for sharing your wishes with all of us, but it wasn’t necessary…besides, now we have a powerful weapon to use against you, if we want to!! (i’m kidding)

    P.S. i hate splinder, it’s the worst blog site you can find in the web, in my opinion! (sometimes i should be less sincere,but i am what i am :D)


  24. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Simone,

    It seems you love provoking me!!! Well there are lots of things I need to jot down. First of all, thanks for your effort, it seems you had to climb up a steep mountain! That is it seems you did share your wishes more for me than for you. SO thank you, but this blog is meant to share things if we want to, so you are not forced to share things that you don’t want to (this is redundant, but it is late and I’m tired, I need some sleep). I did not know you had two blogs (good for you), but this one is dedicated to Paul Auster and hopefully he will be reading it and other people involved with Dedica will. You do not seem to like splinder, well, quite frankly, it was the blog I was suggested to by Mr. Lomolino. I am no computer savvy and he said this was very easy to use. So if you have any suggestion, well, let me know in class, share you knowledge of computer science and help me choose a blog you consider better than this.

    then, I have taught you something (hopefully) in these two years: please refrain from using “hate”, “the worst” if you do not give any justification to support your distaste towards something.

    Last but not least: I am a grown up woman, why should I be afraid of sharing things with my students. You see me almost eveyday, you know so much about your teachers withouth them telling you anything. You are so intelligent that you can read through us, so … I did not write things you could not sense or perceive by yourself. You just need to observe me, listen to what I say, to the way I try to explain things, and there you have the teacher in your hands!!! Shared things cannot be weapons, in my humble opinion, because the person who shares them, unless s/he is deft, knows very well that out there, there is some nasty person who could use that sensitive information against him/her. I know you would never do me any harm, you are too good. But should any use what I give you against me, well, bad for that person because s/he would do harm to him/herself, not to me. Remember what we studied about Gandhi? His view suits me perfectly. I’m not afraid of the enemy, if I were afraid, I would give him/her energy and power.

    See you and hope to receive interesting information on better blogs.

  25. anonimo scrive:

    mmmmm….yes,you are right i love provoking people! so i can have the possibility to see how they react…but maybe i shouldn’t have provoked my teacher,as now i must answer to a very complex post!!

    First,thanks for praising me, i’m not sure to deserve what you wrote about me.

    then…well…do you really think that nobody can use someone else’s desires as a weapon against him/her? i’m not so optimist about it, but my opinion cannot be certainly compared to one of a person who has travelled around the world and could have known and touched lots of more and different people and realities. I do not believe that wherever you go, you can find nice people, able to understand what your wishes are and not to simply use them for their own purposes. i think we aren’t completely able to find a right answer to this issue, so it could be great to hear Paul Auster’s opinion concerning this argument!

    ah then, i just want to reveal you that it wasn’t so hard to make the effort to write my wishes.(although, as a skier, i would prefer to go down from a reep mountain rather than climbing it=D)

    As for the blogs, Mr. Lomolino was right telling you that splinder is the easiest one, i agree with him, but, also for that reason, i think it’s the worst-looking. Prof Battaia would reply that the plainer a website is, the better it is, but, in my opinion,this blog should be more catchy in order to induce Auster to visit it!

    I don’t know what site would be the best, there a lot of them. For example Myspace is really well-built but surely more difficult to use.I don’t have a huge knowledge about computers, maybe you should ask Lorenzo or Michele, if you need an opinion from a computer expert! Mine was just a comment which rose spontaneously looking at your blog.

    But you are right, i shuoldn’t have written “hate” and “worst” without any justification.

    sorry for keeping you awaken last night

    see you, Simone

  26. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Simone,

    I must have expressed myself very weakly, since my message seems not to have gone through effectively! I do agree with you, I am sure that there are people who use and will always use what you say and what you give them. I am not naive, I do not think that the world is either black or white. What I am saying is that: why should I limit myself, the possibility of expressing myself freely just because someone may hurt me? If I did, I would make that someone more and more powerful and I would place myself in a cage. It is obvious that I reveal only the things I am prepared to fight for. I reveal what I think I can control. I would never write in this blog some of my deepest fears, because I cannot control them and so somebody may use against me. If in the blog I write, for example, that I am tall and I have black long hair (stupid example, but I am trying to make a point in the simplest and quickest way), don’t you think this is self-evident. As soon as someone meets me s/he can see that. Then, since you are a blogger yourself, the characteristic of a blog is that of disclosing your thoughts, your feeling, of revealing yourself. So, I am trying to be coherent. If I ask you to express your opinions, then I must do the same.

    Thanks for all your tips about blogs and how to “embellish” this one. I will certainly ask both Lorenzo and Michele.


  27. anonimo scrive:

    I think that the title is provocative and reffers to nostagy and remembrance.People usuallly project their wishes in the furure and compare their present with an idealized past.The beauty of a period compared with another it’s sobjective althought,in my opinion, some parts of the history can be certanly classified as terrible for human beings.Some people assert that the development of societies and the course of history have to be considered as negative because humans have always the same defects so they make always the same mistakes.Other affirm that also their immediate past was better than the present is.I’m quite progressist but i think that holding a fixed position isn’t correct.Past and Future can not be better or worse at all,but periods of history ca be classified from a sobjectvie position.

    I wish that will be a way to make people memoty eternal.I wish to be in every place i want,i wish to find a sense,i wish to find an irrational order,i wish to that the power to wish will not disappear.

  28. PaulAuster2008 scrive:


    mind the construction with wish, otherwise your wishes won’t come true!!

    I like one of your wishes so much that I need to write it out in block letters:


    Very nice.

    Hope your school mates will like it too.

  29. anonimo scrive:

    I’m agree with Federica Cozzarin about the title of the Paul Auster’s book. everyone would relive some moments, some events to be happy, to be satisfied or to change some choice taken in tha past. I think that musicians, artists and poets want to escape from reality, so the present (CFR “esotismo”). We think that the past was better than our present, but when we lived in past we wish in a beautiful future beacuse we didn’t like that present. I think that we won’t never be happy and satisfied. Now i’m reading a book…”Come smettere di farsi seghe mentali e godersi la vita”..[don’t laugh!=) ] well…it learns how live…we have to appreciate the world without searching something…observing all things around…feeling them with our body and then with our mind. So, we realize what we do and this consciousness can help us to live better and to be happy. But, it’s very difficult, because is more confortable hoping in the future, but “we haven’t to take refuge in hopes forgiving to live” (Harry Potter).

    I have a lot of hope and wishes, but if i have to choose…well…I wish in a non corrupt and right world, in a world with SINCERITY and LOYALTY, because i hate with all myself the hypocrisy. And for me…I wish learn to live.

    ps. i’m sorry for my grammatical mistakes.

    Laura Sist

  30. anonimo scrive:

    Hi, I’m an intruder 🙂 I’d like to congratulate you all on this Blog, very challenging and inspiring -in spite of its plain lay-out as someone remarked ;-). As a colleague of you Cris and a teacher … and an avid reader … and a late night writer… and a dreamer … I wish this virtual land wasn’t the only dark and silent country where people voice their inner thoughts.



  31. anonimo scrive:

    Matteo Cervesato

    Looking at the title I tried to imagine the sense, but i didn’t succed; then, after reading the post, i have done myself an idea. the “last things”, o better “the country of Last Things”, is a place where nobody would see at the future, they all think that past is better than future: the present does’t satisfy them, the present is only pain and sadness. i would never live in a such place. i think i’m a positive person, however in these days I am not so sure, and i prefer live my present, that is happiness and friendship. i think i have no wishes “in line with the ones written by the narrator above.”, because of my being positive. nonetheless i have my personal wishes that I would like to write: I wish to solve my problems, i wish to see friendship in the whole people, i wish that sooner or later i will be without any negative thought. I wish to find the true love again. these are some wishes, the first that I have come in mind. i really wish that one day i will see only peace and freedom.

    i don’t think my wishes are utopias, not all!

    I will fight to make them real.

    goodbye, I apologize for the delay.

    Also I have noticed the closeness with Rousseau.

  32. anonimo scrive:

    “In the country of Last Things”…the name makes me think to a place where it’s always the same moment. I mean, if something is the last, it means there is nothing which came after it, or at least, nothing new. If there aren’t new things, then the society, the life style, the world don’t change. So, present, past and future will be always the same. There won’t be the belief that life in another period of history was better.

    In that country I don’t know how people could believe life has always been the same. Even today, as Auster says, when we can rationally substain that we live better than 100 years ago, people say that life in the past was better. I like to think that living in Rome, in Imperial period, was better that living in this society, with all its problems, but I’m sure that Romans used to complain as much as we do today.

    There are so many wishes that I can’t choose… Surely, I want to be happy in my life. I wish I could find my way. I wish I could make friends more easily. I wish people used their brain sometimes…

    Pietro Perin

  33. anonimo scrive:

    I think that the meaning of the title can be referred to an inherent fear in humans, the fear of the unknown, of what will be, of what differs from the usual; if there is a disaster that deprives us even of the most humble or banal things, or deprives us of our dear ones, then there is no way: we have to cling to our inner being, to our own conscience in the extreme attempt to preserve the memory of the past, that must not be forgotten.

    And then the oblivion of bad things drives us to remember only the best of our past, in the belief that the future will never be as wonderful as the past was. And if what there is outside does not correspond to what we want, the dream and the illusion drive us to reach a condition of satisfaction.

    It is important in this case to maintain some contacts with reality and what is practically feasible.

    I hope for example that the logic of profit does not lead the world to irreparable consequences such as environmental, economic and moral degradation of all humanity.

    “… The positive thoughts are only memories and the eyes of people, if they are not full of anger, are empty and sad.”

    Raggiotto Francesco

  34. anonimo scrive:

    “The Country of Last Things” is the place where we live every day. We refuges in the past becuase the time makes all better. Anything is better than the present. Umans can’t appreciate the present, I don’t know why, but I’m sure that it’s true. Why we have to live in the present that doesn’t gratify us, if we can live in the past? But everytime of the story is the present. I mean: everytime is the last for us, it isn’t true that the past is better than the present because the past was present. The same logic for the future. Is a world without time, without progress because we are fossilized in the past. We want at the same time innovations and traditions making a discord that brings us in a still time.

    My wishes…I wish lots of thing but i think that is useless to write down because they are only wishes. Believing in wishes makes me hope, makes me create expecttion. I don’t want have expectation because they are destinated to be deceived. I’m trying to keep my life as it comes to me, wishes are only nonsense.

    “…but you can’t realise that all things is bad at the same way, it depends on the point of view you take.”

  35. anonimo scrive:

    The meaning of the title is quite obvious: the last things, that are lost, are always better than the present things. It is a characteristic of human being the habit of utopize the past, and the purpose of this process is forget the pain, but it leads also to see the present worst than what it is really.

    Schopenhauer said that the way to win sufferance and pain is stop wishing, and, even if I consider the matter in a different meaning, I think that imagine something that would be good for us is not bad, but wishes can lead to disappointment if the reality will be different from our wishes.

    Damiano Verardo

  36. anonimo scrive:

    I think that “In the Country of Last Things” could mean the country of wishes and regrets. The sentence that clarifies better my interpretation is:”The farther you go back, the more beautiful and desirable the world becomes”.

    My greter whish is now to end this school year the better I could do….then I wish to go to university and I wish also the world wouldn’t make worse. I think all this wishes depend at least in part from me…so I will undertake in order o make them possible…..

    erica turbian

  37. anonimo scrive:

    in line with this quotation “a country of last things” seems to me a country with hope that the bad thing of the past have already gone and finished but at the same time the title whisperes an idea that people living in this place are focused more on the past: they refugee themselves in their memory and they don’t want to loose any strenghs to carry them on. the word ghost make me think about death but even lack of determination…. so i think this title and this quotation inspire contradictory meaning ( like all the auster’s works that i have already read) in the quotation there’s the idea of wishes like something only tought. people don’t fight for their wishes and so they ( the wishes) seem only said or thrown in the air. people in this country don’t want to carry on their ideas, hopes and wishes.

    i personally wish lots of things but in line with this extract i wish i finish this school and i can choose an university that really suits me. i wish not to make other mistakes for my future.

    i wish i were more determinated and courageous, to carry on my targets, to listen to the feedback but to managed to choose according to my really ideas.

    giacomin elena

  38. anonimo scrive:

    The title “In the country of Last Things” by Paul Auster, makes me think of a modern place but already decadent. The image I get is of some destroyed houses and cars and of people , who have memory of their past only. They aren’t satisfied with their present and this makes them feel their past was better both than their present and future.

    I wish my grandfather was alive, so I could ask him all the question I have now. He could help me with my problems as he did in the past.

    You drag yourself from sleep each morning to face something that is always worse than what you faced the day before, as life is a continuous fight. If present doesn’t satisfy people and they don’t hope in a better future, people will find a shelter in the past. This isn’t their real past, but an idealization. Finally we all need to find something positive in our life, that’s why it is simpler to change the past in our thoughts, making it look “golden”, instead of working hard to change the present that shows so many difficulties.

  39. anonimo scrive:

    ”In the country of last things”,it is a title that brings with its a long list of argoments and questions. Generally speaking, every people think that past was better than present and that they miss it… but this is not true!It is only an idea that we found inside everyone that don t like his present and search in his past the happines although in the past there wasn’t.Personally, I desagree with this idea because i think that life is only one and regret the past is just a lost of time.

    My wish is very difficult to realise because what i really want (become a ciclyst) i think that is only a dream…a beautiful dream but only a dream. So i wish I found something that enjoyed me like cicling if will not be possible become a cicylist.

  40. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    LAURA, I read the book you mention, it’s funny, but I do not think I would take it as a book that may teach me how to live better. I think that some “seghe mentali” (shall we translate them as “mental mansturbations”!!! No we can’t it’s an Italianism. We’d better say “racking our brains”) do us good. They oblige us to think about certain things over and over again, and sooner or later we will get an answer to what bothers us.

    MATTEO, I share your wishes too (with the exception of looking for true love, because I think I have found it already and hope he won’t desert me!) and I wish you the best of luck as to love!

    PIETRO, you made me laugh when you wrote “I wish people could use their brains sometimes”. I would love to add: “I wish some people had brains”! 🙂

    FRANCESCO I love you quotation “The positive thoughts are only memories and the eyes of people, if they are not full of anger, are empty and sad.” Who said this?

    GIULIA, I don’t think wishes are nonsense, they are our inner driving force. If we didn’t have wishes (even the most superficial ones or the ones easy to attain) we would not set objectives to achieve in our lives. I am not trying to convince you otherwise, I am just responding to your comment.

    DAMIANO, I liked Schopenhaur when I studied him, but I only partly agree with him. Wishes create frustrations if we do not replace them with other wishes when we can’t make them real. However, I don’t think that all wishes create frustrations. I wish there would be no wars, but I know that there will always be wars in this world. This, however, does not “deflete” the power of my wish. This wish reflects my moral view of life and reflects (somehow) that fact that I know wars are “inborn” in our being humans, because they are fought for hegemony, for lust for power and control.

    ERICA and ELENA you seem to be concerned about your future careers. Well, girls, I think most students are confused about the choice of the right university at the end of their secondary school. I am sure you will find your way.

    NICOLA, thanks for your nice post.

    LUCA, perhaps you are right when you say that “regrets” are a waste of time. Yet, don’t you think that regrets (when they do not embitter you or make your life sour) may lead you to a better existence, since they guide you (you avoid making the same mistakes)? As to your wish: I loved the way you “consider” it. Wishes are not necessarily meant to be attained, but they are there to make us keep going. In your case, to make you cycle. Yet, what if you became a cyclist? Never know!

  41. anonimo scrive:

    “In the country of the last things” can have different meanings. It can represent the place were we put our dreams or thoughts. It can also be the place where we escape, when we want to assemble and to think about our passed experiences.

    “I wish I had an older brother, I wish I could talk to my granfather again”

    “[…] and you are convinced of that, but in fact you are wrong. You must not live your life like this. You have to believe, you must have faith in future, because if don’t, you are confined in a life extremely dark and sad.”

  42. anonimo scrive:

    arnoldi martina

    …suddenly I change my point of view.I’m used to think that yesterday was better than today,but I think that today I will meet my new granddauther.she was bord four hours ago!how can I say that yesterday was better than today!today is one of the best days of my life,and tomorrow will be a wanderful day as today because my little granddauhter will come home.she will begin her life and I hope her life could be simply fantastic,rich of happiness..i’m sure,from today things will change in a better way.I’m proud of today,I’m curious of tomorrow and about the past?I will only remember..

  43. anonimo scrive:

    Guarino ilaria

    …..and you live with the only struggle to survive in this dichotomy between past and present,in this crowd of thought and wishes.But do you think this is life??

    you drag yourself from sleep each morning and you can see that the sun is shining like yesterday,like a mounth ago,like the year before.A new day is ment to be lived.Build our existence,day by day,and improve ourself compared to the past is the only way to print the memories and the past in our mind.

  44. anonimo scrive:

    I find this catching title quite intriguing, but it is difficult for me to figure out the meaning of the word “last” in this case. “Last things” can be foolish, useless things or, metaforically speaking, they can be values that everybody, as human being, have (for example the value of life,family..), and even if the society we live in will corrupt us, those “last things” ,those values will remain in us forever.

    From this extract the meaning of the word “last” somehow takes shape in my mind, these “last things” are impossible, unrealizable wishes and dreams.

    “I wish I could find the meaning of what I am going trough. I wish I could find the aim of doing all this.”

    P.S. Wait! I’m not soo disperate! During these days these questions always occur in my mind..

    Chiara Pinardi

  45. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Martina, congratulations. You have become an aunt and your niece will be home soon. I rejoyce with you!!!

    Chiara your comment is comprehensive of all the different themes Auster touches on/develops in this novel. It is one of my favourite novels by Auster, if you want I can lend it to you.

    Wishing something now does not bound us to our wish and does not reveal who we are as people, but just who we “partly” were when we wished that wish! Some wishes come and go because they are linked to our living experience (which always changes, it is always in a go, so to say), other wishes remain with us for the rest of our lives because they are part of our “ethical self” (whatever this means!!!). Let’s not forget, however, that some wishes DO come true! Think of Martina’s wish of becoming an aunt or of her mum’s of becoming a grandmother!


  46. anonimo scrive:


    “The country of last things”, in my opinion, means the place where all our unreachable dreams go when we first think of them. In this “country of last things” we can go to think and to admire our secret and inaccessible ambitions.

    I wish I knew what to study at university.

    “You drag yourself from sleep each morning to face something that is always worse than what you faced the day before, you think that nothing can improve, and you are sure you are destined to have a sad life. What about if it is not true? What about if life can be also positive and happy? Life is something beautiful, and acting like a victim will not help you! You must react against bad things you meet during your life, you have to live your life…And you, do you live your life?”

  47. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Eugenia, is the question addressed to me? “Do you live your life?” Well, I doubt that anybody can fully live their own life. We live in a community and so we are affected by each other’s existence. If you think of the microcosm of the family, the members of a family need to bow to compromises and do things that somehow respect everybody or interest everybody (from time to time). What is important is that we do not do things that would make lose our dignity or respect of ourselves.

  48. anonimo scrive:

    I don’t think that people really want to go back to past times. Sure, a long time ago there weren’t huge problems such as global warming or atomic energy, but would you really return to a world without cars, washing mashines, fridges, mobile phones, internet? And I mentioned only some little things. I don’t belive people would be able to live whithout this daily items. Life is much easier now than in the past. Although in the past there weren’t the global problems we have to face nowadays (pollution, global warming and so on), I think that thanks to the scientific innovations we are able, I’ll say, not to eliminate, but reduce such issues.

    Returning to the excerpt, I think we should be curious of tomorrow, we have to take a positive attitude towards the future. Tomorrow could be an opportunity to do something good and useful for our society, not a simple day in which you ‘face something that is always worse than what you faced the day before’.

  49. anonimo scrive:

    Jana Stefani

  50. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    I totally agree with you Jana, I think werare used to a life of comfort and it it is almost impossible to renounce it. Unlike you I think we should learn to reach a balance between what we really need, how we use it and when we use it. Just to give an example: I think people could use more their bicycles when they can (very few do, because it seems uncool to ride a bike, because you can’t wear stiletto shoes or tigth skirts, etc.), I think people could turn off the tap when they brush their teeth or take a shower, etc. We think we rule the world and I think consumerism has blinded us and has made of human beings walking paradoxes. You believe that scientific advance will solve the problems of global warming, climate change, extinction of lots of species of animals and plants, nuclear plants, etc. I think it could if all human beings were balanced, not sold to economic gain and personal advancement. It’s a long story, I want to cut it short: I am happy to read that you, as a young representative our ouf small society (here in Pordenone), have such a positive outlook on life. I teach also because I believe in the positive and empowering dynamism of young people. 😉