the HBO hit’s books have a secret message.

Books read by characters in Season 2 of White Lotus play a more sensible role than the character-acclaimed beach reading in the first season of HBO’s luxury resort satire. The second season, set in Sicily, features at least one couple—Cameron (Theo James) and Daphne Babcock (Meghann Fahy)—who seem unlikely to read any books at all, as much as they avoid news and can’t read. struggling to vote. Only two titles appear recognizable in the first five episodes, although Cameron’s college classmate, Ethan Spiller (Will Sharpe), frequently holds the third book, paperback, on the bed, the spine broken and the back and cover covers broken. front pressed together. Ethan’s wife, Harper (Aubrey Plaza), is one of the few readers in this group, hovering over Valerie Luiselli’s article. Lost Children’s Shelter, a novel that was shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize. Harper is devastated when her plans to read it on their first morning fall through when Cameron and Daphne wave her over to join them for breakfast.

In Season 1, the characters’ books were used as indicators of their personalities. The foundation of real estate bro Shane read (of course) Malcolm Gladwell’s In the blink of an eye, while his bride Rachel buries her nose in book club favorite Elena Ferrante. The main purveyors of literary status that season, however, were the young Olivia and Paula, who played an incongruous grab bag of texts ranging from Camille Paglia and Sigmund Freud to Lacan and Franz Fanon. When Shane asks the girls if they’re really reading these scary books, Olivia replies, sarcastically, that they’re just “props”. But the response has some truth to it, given that none of the girls seem intelligent enough to analyze many theoretical texts, and their fashion-forward ideas serve as a catalyst to use against their elders even as they enjoy privileges. they accuse.

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What does Harper’s election mean? Luiselli has published popular volumes of fiction and non-fiction, and Missing Children’s Memorial it has some of the characteristics of autobiography, a recent genre that collapses the reality of the author’s life into a half-invented narrative. Just like autographs like Jenny Offill’s Gossip Department, contains many references and allusions to other writers and the problems of making art from life. Luiselli, who is a citizen of Mexico but lives in the United States, has volunteered to be a translator for South American immigrants, especially children, seeking asylum in the United States, an experience that has shaped several of his books. Missing Children’s Memorial is the story of a road trip undertaken by a married couple and their two children. Both husband and wife make audio recordings, and they started heading to Arizona where the husband plans to work on a project about the Apaches. The wife is researching the fate of two immigrant children who disappeared while in federal custody.

The social conscience of Luiselli’s novel makes it a fitting choice for Harper, an employment attorney who works on behalf of employees in discrimination and harassment cases. But Missing Children’s Memorial it is also a novel deeply concerned with authenticity, whose narrator wonders whether he “can or should make art with the suffering of another.” Ethan and Harper are suddenly very rich after selling Ethan’s startup, and Harper wants to believe that nothing about their lives has changed. “We’re not materialistic,” he tells Cam and Daphne, making no effort to hide his disdain for the pair’s indifference. As usual for social critics in White Lotus, he is right, but partly for the wrong reasons. You get the feeling that even when he’s surrounded by those he deems worthy, Harper isn’t very happy. Considering the “end of the world” being prevented gives him a good excuse not to. Harper is not satisfied with Cam and Daphne’s disapproval; she also needs to convince herself—and Ethan—that the other couple’s happiness is just ahead.

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Missing Children’s Memorial it is also a novel about marriage in free-fall; The couple’s road trip is a last-ditch attempt to keep their family together. As the later parts of White Lotus will suggest further, Ethan and Harper’s alliance is weak as well. In fact, none of the marriages this season make a good case for the institution. The recess is decorated with ceramic vases in the shape of men’s heads which, the worker explains to visitors, refers to a Sicilian story about a girl who beheaded her lover when she learned that he was married. Almost every man in this series is a cheater, the only difference being how the wives choose to deal with it. That includes Greg (Jon Gries), whose romance with recurring character Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge), now married, was one of the few moments of hope in Season 1.

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So by the time Albie (Adam DiMarco) appears in Episode 4 studying Lydia Kallipoliti’s art, an esoteric subject, Closed World Architecture: or, What is the Power of Shit?, the importance is obvious. Kallipoliti’s book (based on the 2016 exhibition) examines several historical examples of self-sustaining living systems, from spaceships and submarines to Biosphere 2, a failed experiment intended to demonstrate the feasibility of a closed ecosystem or colony to sustain humans and species. others. of life. Kallipoliti observes that these experiments have almost always faced the problem of various types of waste, which are not yet 100 percent recyclable and tend to accumulate and spoil things. Is marriage a system like this, an attempt to isolate two people in their own compound, who are condemned to be dysfunctional due to the increased desire for excess (usually male)? Is every happy monogamous couple just a facade that hides accommodation and betrayal? And if so, it is strange that more than one of the guests this season will end is he dead



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