Aaron Maine shares 5 books on isolation, from Osamu Dazai’s “No Longer Human” to Claire-Louise Bennett’s “Pond”

Armageddon, Ragnarok, Judgement Day, Doomsday, Apocalypse! Whoever your gods may be, a sense of looming doom undoubtedly seeped into your brain and your bones in the last two years as the end of our delicate world began to escalate at an alarming rate. As bodies burn around you, the only place you have to turn is inward.

No one was exempt from such internal turmoils this year—even effervescent synth pop was subject to great reckonings of the self. For Porches, aka Aaron Maine, the loss of the structures of everyday life brought a sort of blind momentum, pummelling the New York-based artist into a spiral of self-driven creation.

But even when we ignore the voices outside of our heads trying to orient and adjust our work, we take inspiration from them. Porches drew such inspiration from those who had navigated the brushes of isolation before him. Here, Porches shares five books for finding community in solitude.

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
“One of the most beautiful books I’ve read about solitude. The author makes these lucid, acute, haunting connections between her stark surroundings, the few people she encounters, and her memories in this half dreamlike, half hyper grounded way. ‘In solitude, you don’t need to make an impression on the world, so the world has some opportunity to make an impression on you.’”

The Trial by Franz Kafka
“Accused of an unknown crime, you watch this kind of unbearable character, insular, too convinced of his innocence, start to unravel as he makes his way through this super absurd, corrupt, un-named ‘justice system.’ Scary to watch the guilt slowly start to sneak into him the more worn out he becomes.”

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
“Totally gut wrenching, superhuman tender tragic. ‘I feel as though I have been a ‘social outcast’ from the moment I was born. If ever I meet someone society has designated as an outcast, I invariably feel affection for him, an emotion which carries me away in melting tenderness.’”

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
“There are these crazy beautiful dizzy descriptions of the main character feeling his existence weaving in and out of the existence of the objects and people he is surrounded by. Nauseatingly empty and alive.”

Water Statues by Fleur Jaeggy
“These lonely characters wander around soggy, mossy, empty, warm, pensive, alone, connected.”