Ilago Villroth’s The Inconsistencies: A Comical Tragedy in Two Parts
I confess to reading this tale during a strange time in my life—newly set in a strange land in a home freshly built, so my review is strongly biased in this light.
Inconsistencies is surely that: if Kafka and Voltaire wrote together and had their essay edited by John Bunyan, perhaps part one, Confessions, would result. Augustine may not have been present much past Paris and the strange loss of a first love. It is a decades-long revision of a life of regret and experiment and more regret, and conclusion that something denied, God, is missing. Philosophical Confessions, then, becomes somewhat of a Pilgrim’s journey. Villroth’s principal narrator sets forth his reason in the opening: “This insignificant work of mine recounts my life’s Confession: all my terrible sins and failures are here told, as is my eventual journey toward Providence…my searching for and discovering Truth.”
Part two feels a bit like Ahab’s crew taking the Time Machine forward to a Brave New World with Robinson Crusoe, a land and culture well out of date and coherence, filled with characters all guiding the Pilgrim.
The Pilgrim’s last confession at journey’s end is that of repentance—“I destroy my altars! …let me repent, and so be converted, that I may be razed!”—before leaping into the watery depths to rejoin his long-lost true love.
This book is for readers who enjoy finding cues of theorists and philosophers, deists, visionaries in literature. Villroth explains his story is not necessarily “consistent”: both parts make up the whole, a cyclic story of realizing life is full of holes, many of which are self-inflicted, and the search for fulfillment. Highly literary, told in early nineteenth-century-enlightenment style.