This from a South African novel called “State of Fear” by Menan du Plessis. Written in 1980, it’s pretty good. Review soon. (In the meantime, here’s one from the New York Times)
Still waiting, I let my gaze wander. Saw a life-size cardboard cut-out of a woman in a bikini holding a camera. Why, I wondered. And high up on the walls there were blown-up, back-lit transparencies, pictures of children,puppies, surfers, model girls – all emblazoned with the brand-name of a film. Miraculous images on that glowing paper, where people were given back the likenesses of themselves, except stripped of the dragging physicality of real existence. Is that what people really want to buy: exemption from struggle? A sudden taste of sweet, dissolving glucose flooded my mouth.
Near the ceiling a suspended mirror responded to my queries with the image of a woman staring up, trying to stare into the face of capitalism. I had to swallow down the sweet taste of my childhood then as I tried to think. Nothing is so simple and transparent? Somehow one emerges from that locked state. Somewhere was an I able to observe that woman observing.
Yet how is it possible. Unless somewhere in the mind there is an unreachable, encysted core of memory where the still-born twin of the soul lies trapped in permanent, living, nightmare; so that there would be the hidden place necessary for transformations, dialectic, redemption. A world of spirits, or a Forest of Arden. I’m not going crazy, you know.
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord