Vaseline is “a compound word of the words water and oil”. Jung Young Moon has crafted a book “Vaseline Buddha”, which is fluid, loose-structured, and in some ways indefinable. Follow the monologue of the anonymous narrator, as he deftly describes interesting scenarios from daily life, sketching out little details and observations, but often catching you off guard with twists to the tales!
“In everyday life there are moments that captivate you, because the moment you step into life’s most ambiguous, enigmatic territory called everyday life you feel a pleasant, unexpected surprise.”
Jung Young Moon writes this book in dynamic fashion, constantly moving from one place to the next, diverting from outright initial statements, carrying along these thoughts with a stream of words, almost poetic in delivery. Right from the outset, he warns the reader that we cannot trust all that he is telling us.‘How easy is it for such words to be without truth?’ he says, rather enigmatically.
It is clear that Jung Young Moon has a fascinating thought process, he identifies questions and communicates them rapidly, akin to watching picture slides flicking on a carousel. In this way he addresses indecision, and conflicting conclusions that we might make everyday, with a narrative that adopts a meditative and reflective nature. The reader is taken on a literary dream-like journey through experiences, thoughts and memories, meandering with the ebbs and flows, moments of humour and darkness. The unusual and eccentric approach to have a book without an overriding central plot makes “Vaseline Buddha” a memorable read!
“By putting into writing the faint, fragile memories in this way, I’m fixing them, stories that can change later in a different way, like printed photographs.”
The book echoes the hectic nature of life itself, how chaotic and challenging it can be at times. In some ways, there is a feeling that the narrator is talking through various traumatic memories and painful moments now imbued as part of him, while he circles through his many thoughts, trying and often failing to make sense of it all. “Vaseline Buddha” is certainly not a conventional novel, but it is one that challenges and enriches any reader who takes the time to follow Jung Young Moon as he contemplates the world around him.
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