Sunday, December 23, 2007 bed...

This novel made me think of other authors from the UK (Never again will I make the mistake of saying 'English'): John Banville and Ann Enright (both of them Irish). Naturally this means their main topics in their latest novels: death. Curiously enough both novels got the Booker, this year and last year. This one, Gerard Woodward's magnificent novel, "I'll Go to Bed at Noon" is part of a trilogy but stands totally by itself. This is a terrific novel that tackles the problem of alcoholism in an entire family. There's death and despair in this novel, and a lot of literary references, but it is easy to read because of Woodward's direct, even matter-of-factly prose, full of humour within the tragedy. I love this part, almost at the end of the novel when Colette, the matriarch dies (cirrhosis of the liver). This is Aldous's perspective, Colette's surviving husband:

"Afterwards Aldous sat in a small park of ornamental willows and wept. He realized he now had more time than he knew what to do with. More time than he could ever want. He was healthy. He was sixty-seven. He had no job, no wife, no children, no mortgage, no pets, and perhaps a good ten years of active life left, perhaps fifteen, perhaps twenty. Those years spread before him with a vastness such as the early palaeonthologists must have recognized when they first realized that the Earth was much older than the Bible had told them. Not a few thousand years old, but five billion years. What had the world been doing all that time, what species had risen and fallen, what ages had passed? And in the future, the pathway of time streched further than the human race could ever walk. More time than humanity could ever fill. No matter how long the human race lasted, it would only ever be a flicker in the life of the universe, a twich of an eyelid.
When he got home he found a letter for him on the mat. It was his new bus pass. A free bus pass. The GLC had recently announced free travel on London Transport for all old age pensioners" (430).

Saturday, December 8, 2007

jorge semprún

«Desde el mes de enero de 1946, en Ascona, en la Suiza italiana, había abandonado el libro que intentaba escribir sobre mi experiencia en Buchenwald. Me había visto obligado a tomar aquella decisión literalmente para sobrevivir. Ya sé que Primo Levi sólo volvió a la vida por medio y a través de Se questo è un uomo. Mi aventura había sido diferente. La escritura me encerraba en la clausura de la muerte, me asfixiaba en ella, implacablemente. Había que escoger entre la escritura y la vida, y escogí esta última. Escogí una larga cura de afasia, de amnesia deliberada para volver a vivir, o para sobrevivir... Así como la escritura liberaba a Primo Levi del pasado, apaciguaba su memoria, a mí me hundía otra vez en la muerte, me sumergía en ella». Jorge Semprún

nora strejilevich

fui una fui cien fui miles
y no fui nadie.
NN era mi rostro despojado
de gesto de mirada de vocal.

shirley jackson

This was one of the classic gothic debts. Finally got this impressive penguin deluxe edition of Shirley Jackson, "We have always lived in the castle", according to Jonatham Lethem, in his great introduction to this edition, Jackson's finest work. This edition features a precious drawing by swiss artist Thomas Ott.
The story is completely told by 18th year old Merricat:

"I wish you were all dead, I thought, and longed to say it out loud. Constance said, 'Never let them see that you care', and 'If you pay any attention they'll only get worse', and probably it was true, but I wished they were dead. I would have liked to come into the grocery some morning and see them all, even the Elbers and the children, lying there crying with the pain and dying. I would then help myself to groceries, I thought, stepping over their bodies, taking whatever I fancied from the shelves, and go home, with perhaps a kick for Mrs. Donell while she lay there. I was never sorry when I had thoughts like this; I only wished they would come true. 'It's wrong to hate them', Constance said, 'it only weakens you', but I hated them anyway, and wondered why it had been worth while creating them in the first place".


First Snow

Like a child, the earth's going to sleep, or so the story goes.

But I'm not tired, it says, You may not be tired but I'm tired...

You can see it in her face, everyone can. So the snow has to fall, sleep has to come. Because the mother's sick to death of her life and needs silence.

Louise Glück

Saturday, November 10, 2007

jenny erpenbeck

An excerpt from one of the condensed short stories by Jenny Erpenbeck (Berlin, 1967):

"His wife brings me tea. She has blotches, his wife, he once said to me, like a woman who's been beaten, but he doesn't beat her. How could you possibly have gotten so weak? she asks me. She sits on the edge of my bed and holds the saucer while I drink. I don't know, I tell her, maybe I just overdid it. If you rest a lot, you'll get better. Yes, I say, and take another sip. What do you think of my dress? she asks. I don't like the color, you look too somber in it. At least you're honest, she says. When I ask him, he always says, sure, you look fine, but he doesn't even look up, he doesn't even see what I have on, he just says: Sure, you look fine".
From 'Sun-Flecked shadows of my skull', in "The Old Child & Other Stories".


"Remembering is an ethical act, has ethical value in and of itself. Memory is, achingly, the only relation we can have with the dead" Susan Sontag.

Photo: Camino a San Pedro de Atacama, by Catalina Dumay


last lines of the novel::::::::"On Chesil Beach he could have called out to Florence, he could have gone after her. He did not know, or would not have cared to know, that as she ran away from him, certain in her distress that she was about to lose him, she had never loved him more, or more hopelessly, and that the sound of his voice would have been a deliverance, and she would have turned back. Instead, he stood in cold and righteous silence in the summer's dusk, watching her hurry along the shore, the sound of her difficult progress lost to the breaking of small waves, until she was a blurred, receding point against the immense straight road of shingle gleaming in the pallid light".


"In the past several weeks Molly has been doing research into the phenomenon of twin-ness. She has found astonishing things, in some cases alarming things--one of them being that identical twins reared apart more closely resemble each other than twins raised in the same household!--for that reason that, when raised together, twins make a conscious effort to become individuals; there is something profoundly distatesful about being 'identical' to another person. When twins are raised apart, however, without knowing each other, each naturally follows the bent of his instinct--the genetic trajectory of what might be called destiny. Consequently some of the twins in the studies Molly has been reading resemble each other to an uncanny degree: they unknowingly marry people with the same names, have children at approximately the same times and give them similar names; their I.Q.'s remain near-identical through life, despite differing environments, as well as their medical ailments; their tastes in food, clothing, jewelry et al. are remarkably similar, as are their personality traits and mannerisms. And of course they look alike. And frequently mistaken for each other". (From Lives of the Twins, by Rosamond Smith).

the gathering

"I get across the two feet of carpet that brings me to the lip of the stairs. I fall down them, one step at a time. I am nine years old, I am six years old, I am four again. I can not put my hand on the banister, in case I touch something I don't understand. The light switch at the bottom seems to recede, the quicker I go. Who turned it off? Why is the light in the hall turned off, when there is a corpse in the house?"

ann enright

"I am saying that, the year you sent us away, your dead son was interfered with, when you were not there to comfort or protect him, and that interference was enough to send him on a path that ends in the box downstairs. That is what I am saying, if you want to know"

From this year's booker winner, 'The gathering'.


"I got the nerve to dream of making some good pictures in my lifetime after I learned about Eugène Atget and Julia Margaret Cameron.
Atget launched his work on the streets of Paris when he was 40 and Cameron began her famous photographs of friends when she was 53.
I started taking pictures when I was 38. My first portrait project was at First Mondays, a market in Scottsboro, Alabama, and it began with battered dolls.
When I could move close to the dolls I began doing the same thing with people."

Rosalind Solomon 2004.

"Must one suppose oneself mad because one has the sentiment of universal pity in one's heart?"
Victor Hugo, The Alps and Pyrenees

gerard woodward

"We walked all day in our Wellingtons/To see the northern whaling stations.
Our feet were bleeding in their rubber/When we saw the slipways full of blubber.
Men slicing into pouches/Dissecting hearts as big as couches,
Entrails drying on the beaches,/Pink blood foaming in the reaches.
In the town we sensed hostility,/Couldn't even get a cup of tea."

('North from Reykjavik')


"And though not long ago we had fight,/ we'd be miserable if we called it a night;/ your skull gets baldish, and my turtleneck slack,/ my friend, we constantly carry death on our back:/ a very good reason to have a drink for the road."

From 'Old Friends', Theodor Kramer

Salt & Sand

Salt & Sand

Sweetheart, draw your shallow breath While the cloud shadows pass overhead This warm rock makes a pillow for us now

A mattress of sand, the tide is low All that you ever waited, you can let it go Wishing suspends our lives we dwell on what we're owed Paid in kind for ourselves, with ashes for our souls All of the time we spend dwelling on what we're owed

Sweetheart, let the salt sea fill your dreams The sun with the shadows dances it seems Breathe deep the salt taste of the day A curtain of rain falls far away"

Rosie Cuckston


Puño y Letra (2005)

"(En un pedazo que no cesa. Mi cuerpo crónico, a partir de ese año, ya no tuvo cura. Arrastro la cicatriz que encubre la herida mortal que me atravesó el alma de manera irreversible)"

"Ese año, el 74, hubimos de olvidar forzadamente los rituales en los que habían transcurrido nuestros pasados pensantes. Olvidar que las calles nos pertenecían, olvidar un conjunto importante de palabras que nos podían denunciar. Olvidar las estéticas en las que antes nos organizábamos. Olvidar cada milímetro de rebeldía. Fue un trabajo desesperado y trágico, pero no por eso menos imperativo. Las calles se hicieron ajenas, las palabras, las formas, las rebeldías desaparecieron del horizonte como si no, como sino, como si no hubiesen existido nunca. Parece imposible, ?no?"

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Amos Oz.
Remembering Oz's impressive novel, 'The Same Sea'. A poetic novel, difficult to categorize (postmodern?: a safe category?), where he goes through current conflicts with a near biblic gaze. How is pain reshaped by modernity? This is what he said about his novel:
“One of the things I wanted to introduce in The Same Sea beyond transcending the conflict, is the fact that deep down below all our secrets are the same”.
“Two children of same cruel parent look at one another and see in each other the image of the cruel parent or the image of their past oppressor. This is very much the case between Jew and Arab: It's a conflict between two victims”.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The gravedigger's daughter

"In the old stone cottage in the cemetery there had been many words but these had been the words of Death. Now, Rebecca did not trust words. Certainly there were no adequate words to speak of what had passed between her and Tignor, in Beardstown" (251).

"In her loneliness on the Poor Farm Road she would come to think that there must be a logic to it, her behavior. In the way, as a girl, she'd stayed away from the old stone house in the cemetery and so had saved herself from what might have been done to her on that last day. Couldn't have known what she was doing and yet--a part of her, with the cunning of a trapped creature gnawing at its own leg to save itself, had known" (293).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


From 'The Gravedigger's daughter'

"Hazel's face was a brittle doll-face, covered in cracks. She was desperate to hide it, that no one would see. Tears gushing from her eyes. She managed to cover part of her face, with one hand. Seeing the neglected and overgrown cemetery. Always the cemetery was close behind her eyelids, she had only to shut her eyes to see it. There, grave markers were toppled over in the grass, cracked and broken. Some of the graves had been vandalized. The names of the dead had been worn away. No matter how carefully engraved into the stone the names of the dead had vanished. Hazel smiled to see it: the earth was a place of anonymous graves, every grave was unknown" (550).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

elena poniatowska

This is an incredible novel. Dare I call it that after all the debate...

De Hasta no verte Jesús Mío, primera novela (testimonial) de Poniatowska, que toma como protagonistga a Jesusa Palancares:

"Yo creo que fue una guerra mal entendida porque eso de que se mataran unos contra otros, padres contra hijos, hermanos contra hermanos; carrancistas, villistas, zapatistas, pues eran puras tarugadas porque éramos los mismos pelados y muertos de hambre. Pero ésas son cosas que, como dicen, por sabidas se callan".

Elena Poniatowska: "De la mano de Jesusa entré en contacto con la pobreza, la de a de veras, la del agua que se recoge en cubetas y se lleva cuidando de no tirarla ... la de las gallinas que ponen huevos sin cascarón, “nomás la pura tecata,” porque la falta de sol no permite que se calcifiquen. Jesusa pertenece a los millones de hombres y de mujeres que no viven, sobreviven".

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

daniel lee

Thanks to detective Claire Hirsch for tracking this!

"I want to try to predict the future of us as a people. Five hundred years from now, anything can happen, with technology moving as fast as it has been. Today, we can clone animals, we can freeze heads, we can use animal organs to save lives. What's going to happen if all these experiments become reality? I want to come up with something I have not experienced yet."

Not exactly literary?

Q: If you were an animal, what would you be?

I was born in the beginning part of the year of the Rooster. In Chinese Astrology, it means that my mother was pregnant during the year of the Monkey. In that context, I find that the sign of Monkey suits me more.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

w.g. sebald

Excerpts from the last two pages of The Rings of Saturn

"Today, as I bring these notes to a conclusion, is the 13th of April 1995. It is Maundy Thursday, the feast day on which Christ's washing of the disciples' feet is remembered, and also the feast day of Saint Agathon, Carpus, Papylus and Hermengild. On this very day three hundred and ninety-seven years ago, Henry IV promulgated the Edier of Nantes; Handel's Messiah was first performed two hundred and fifty-three years ago, in Dublin; Warren Hastings was appointed Governor-General of Bengal two hundred and twenty-three years ago; the Anti-Semitic League was founded in Prussia one hundred and thirteen years ago; and, seventy-four years ago, the Amritsar massacre occurred, when General Dyer ordered his troops to fire on a rebellious crowd of fifteen thousand that had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh square, to set an example".

"Now, as I write, and think once more of our history, which is but a long account of calamities, it occurs to me that at one time the only acceptable expression of profound grief, for ladies of the upper classes, was to wear heavy robes of black silk taffeta or black crepe de chine."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

who owns Thomas Bernhard?

This echoes Cynthia Ozick's essay on Anne Frank, 'Who owns Anne Frank' because I think certain authors provoke needs for posession, cravings and raging reactions. Why is that? What (narcissistic or even genuine identification) makes one claim a writer to be on one's side, to defend him/her, to protect and keep in a private and secure haven?

This is from 'A kid', part of Bernhard's (autobiographical) pentalogy. I like how he describes his grandfather, a figure that, he says, was crucial to his life and development as a writer:

"He didn't always allow me to accompany him in his promenades, most of the time he wanted to be alone and not be bothered. Specially when he was in the middle of an important work. I can't afford any distraction, he would say then. But when he allowed me to accompany him, I was the happiest of men. During those walks it weighted over me in principle a prohibition of talking that only rarely lifted me. When he needed to make a question or I to him. He was the person who illuminated me the most, the first, the most important, finally the only one."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

tillie olsen

thanks to Antonia for this recommendation, a great well of literary quotes and references.

"... we are in a time of more and more hidden and foreground silences, women and men. Denied full writing life, more may try to 'nurse through night' (that part-time, part-self night) 'the ethereal spark', but it seems to me there would almost have had to be 'flame on flame' first; and time as needed, afterwards; and enough of the self, the capacities, undamaged for the rebeginnings on the frigthful task. But it cannot reconcile for what is lost by unnatural silences", In Silences.

Friday, October 5, 2007

elfriede jelinek

“Print is dead”. That’s the motto Elfriede Jelinek’s last literary gesture seems to be saying. What an incredible writer Jelinek is! With books such as ‘The piano teacher’, ‘Lust’, ‘Greed’, and ‘Wonderful, wonderful times’, it seems an amazing gift that a writer of such stature goes online to offer her last work, ‘Envy’. Unfortunately, non german readers will have to wait for a translation.

Jelinek, Nobel Laureate 2004, says, “Anyone who wants to can download it or print it out.” She describes the process of “publishing a text on the Internet” as being “wonderfully democratic.” About the Internet itself, Jelinek says, “I find the Internet to be the most wonderful thing there is. It connects people. Everyone can have input.”

Jelinek’s experiment shows how the Web can be used to generate interest and create an audience. But what is Jelinek’s gesture saying about publishers?

Monday, October 1, 2007


"Hills Like White Elephants" is an amazing story, almost pure dialogue. It is an impressive and subtle account of the conflict between 'the American' and a 'girl', a couple waiting for a train in Spain. The conflict is the inevitable abortion the girl will have, and the subltlely lays in the disguised way the resolution is conceived in terms of narrative:

"Doesn't it mean anything to you? We could get along".
"Of course it does. But I don't want anybody but you. I don't want any one else. And I know it's perfectly simple".
"Yes, you know it's perfectly simple".
"It's all right for you to say that, but I do know it".
"Would you do something for me now?".
"I'd do anything for you".
"Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?".

ernest hemingway

"With the maid holding the umbrella over her, she walked along the gravel path until she was under their window. The table was there, washed bright green in the rain, but the cat was gone. She was suddenly disappointed. The maid looked up at her".

"'Anyway, I want a cat', she said, 'I want a cat. I want a cat now. If I can't have long hair or any fun, I can have a cat'". (In "Cat in the Rain").

miklós radnóti

In 1944, Hungarian jew Miklós Radnóti was deported to a labor camp in Yugoslavia. Too weak to walk he was shot to death with other prisoners. The mass grave in which they were buried was exhumed after the war and Radnóti's last poems, describing incidents of the march, were found in his trench coat pocket by his wife.

From "Foamy sky "

The moon sways on a foamy sky,
I am amazed that I live.
An overzealous death searches this age
and those it discovers are all so very pale.
The forest bled and in the spinning time
blood flowed from every hour...
...I lived to see that and this,
the air feels heavy to me.
A war sound-filled silence hugs me as before my nativity.
...I stop here at the foot of a tree,
its crown swaying angrily.
A branch reaches down -- to grab my neck?
I'm not a coward, nor am I weak,
just tired. I listen.
And the frightened branch explores my hair.
To forget would be best,
but I have never forgotten anything yet.
Foam pours over the moon
and the poison draws a dark green line on the horizon.
I roll myself a cigarette
slowly, carefully. I live.

--Tajtékos ég, translated by Gina Gönczi

grace paley

Grace Paley (1922-2007)

"People talk of alienation and so forth… I don't feel that. I feel angry at certain things, but I don't feel alienated from it. I feel disgusted with it, or mad, but I don't feel I'm not in it." (Grace Paley).

Grace Paley died a month ago. I’ve been going through her short stories. There’s one that I especially like: ‘Samuel’, about a boy who stupidly dies while loitering around on the subways. After Samuel’s death, his parents have another child. And these are the chilling lines in which the short story ends, taking the mother’s point of view:

“But immediately she saw that this baby wasn’t Samuel. She and her husband together have had other children, but never again will a boy exactly like Samuel be known”.

maria luisa bombal

Going through Bombal's bibliography I was made to remember...

María Luisa Bombal, who died without receiving the National Award for Literature, contemplated suicide. That was in Santiago in 1941. Instead, she ran into an old fiancé in the Hotel Crillón, impulsively drew from her handbag a Mauser pistol, fired four shots into him. He recovered, forgave, filed no charges.

"We have organized a logical existence over a well of mysteries".

"It may be that true happiness lies in the conviction that one has irremediably lost happiness. Then we can begin to move through life without hope or fear, capable of finally enjoying all the small pleasures, which are the most lasting."
Maria Luisa Bombal

ian mcewan

"Ever since I lost mine in a road accident when I was eight, I have had my eye on other people's parents", Preface to 'Black Dogs'

Saturday, September 29, 2007

leonora carrington

Paul De Angelis - What worries you today?

LeonoraCarrington - Above all, the idea of death, the fact that I'm old and our attitude to death is totally erroneous. In reality we know very little about death, but if we know that a series of worlds exist that appear to be transforming.

Paul- Worlds more there than life?

Leonora- Yes, we distinguish life from death, but in my opinion things are not how they are explained to us. I believe that they are different for each person, like dreams. I think that to reach an understanding about death first we must understand the distinct places that exist within us, and dreams are one of these places; this is to say that The Paul and the Leonora of a dream are in a way a different Paul and Leonora. It almost appears to be like worlds in reverse. It seems that we have a body which unfolds activities, meanwhile our physical body remains inactive when we are asleep; with our bodies we do things, we go to places, drive cars, ride bikes. . .

Paul- Do you believe in reincarnation? You have an interest in Tibetan Buddhism which believes in reincarnation.

Leonora- Yes, I find it interesting, but I couldn't say at what point the conscious personality outlives death. We only need to sleep to convert ourselves into different personalities. That is why I think that talking about reflexive consciousness, perception, or the conscious- that in saying it, we better express the idea. In our dreams we conserve a certain degree of consciousness, but we are not conscious of what we call out, or what things can be called, the physical three dimensional world. Right now you could visualize for example, a rabbit, but obviously it would not be a three dimensional rabbit. Like I said, perhaps reincarnation exists, but I think we could reincarnate in different entities. We could for example reincarnate into an ant farm, full of ants. Do you understand? The Tibetans say that the best thing is to be human. In my opinion, as humans, our attitude makes the rest animals. We being human animals is very mistaken. We have adopted a totally false attitude in believing we are superior to the other animals, that we have rights over them. In my opinion, the animal world is universal and will continue unexplored. We have no idea about the capacity, consciousness or the intelligence which animals possess. Take for example the snout of a dog, in it we will find ample language, and the capacity to identify thousands of things solely by its sense of smell.

Paul- Do animals have a spirit?

Leonora- Of course, everything, the trees, the rocks, everything has life. The earth is alive and everything has consciousness/awareness. I am sure that moreover, many Gods exist. There probably exist Gods of the informatica. For example, now instead of insulting someone you insult the one that ordained them. The other day I went to the bank, and there was a man who was furious with one of the employees for not doing as he asked for. But he didn't call him an idiot, he said that his boss was an idiot. He was probably imposing the new style of insulting someone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

christa wolf

"Even dead gods reign" (Christa Wolf in Medea)

Thinking of great beginnings (e.g. Kafka's 'The Castle'), I remembered Christa Wolf's Medea:

"Even dead gods reign. Even the hapless fear for their happiness. The language of dreams. The language of the past. Help me up, up out of this shaft, away from this clanging in my head, why do I hear the clash of weapons, does that mean they're fighting, who's fighting, Mother, my Colchians, am I hearing their war games in our inner courtyard, or where I am, because the clashing keeps getting louder. Thirsty. I must wake up. I must open my eyes. The pitcher next to the bed. Cool water doesn't just quench my thirst, it stills the noise in my brain too. But I know about that. You sat there next to me, Mother, and if I turned my head like this I could see out the window, as I can here, where I am?"

Margaret Atwood said about this book: "The question it asks the reader, through many voices and in many different ways, is: What would you be willing to believe, to accept, to conceal, to do, to save your own skin, or simply to stay close to power? Who would you be willing to sacrifice?"

Monday, September 24, 2007

cesare pavese

"We don't remember days; we remember moments." (From Diaries, 1940)

Some have talked about the synchronicity between C Pavese and the narrator of The Moon and the Bonfires: this sense of exclusion, of internal exile that finds its counterpoint in physical exile.

The novel takes place after the Second World War, when the narrator returns from America, where he has made a fortune, to the village where he grew up. He has left the village out of a “rage at being nobody . . . to come home after everyone had given me up for dead”. He is well aware of his background: an orphan accepted by a family because of the money the government offered.

“But how often I’d seen the noisy carts go by, crammed full of women and boys on their way to the fair, to the merry-go-rounds of Castiglione, Cossano, Campetto, everywhere, and I was staying behind with Giulia and Angiolina under the hazel trees or the fig tree or by the side of the bridge, those long summer evenings, looking always at the same vineyards and sky. And then at night you could hear them coming home along the road, singing, laughing, shouting to each other across the Belbo. On evenings like that, a light, a bonfire seen on a distant hill, would make me cry out and roll on the ground because I was poor, because I was a boy, because I was nothing. I was almost happy when a thunderstorm, a real summer disaster, blew up and drenched their party. But now, just thinking about them, I was missing those times and wanting them back”.

“For better or worse, you know me. For better or worse, let me live.”

Monday, August 27, 2007

italo calvino

one thing led to another...

"For those who pass it without entering, the city is one thing; it is another for those who are trapped by it and never leave. There is the city where you arrive for the first time; and there is another city which you leave never to return. Each deserves a different name; perhaps I have already spoken of Irene under other names; perhaps I have spoken only of Irene".

From The Invisible Cities

Ingeborg Bachmann

I've been thinking about this 'project'?, 'idea'? of reading for a second or third time books that have somehow haunted me for several years. Naturally these are novels... What strange thing happens when one goes through the pages of a book read years ago? Sometimes I go back to a book and remember exactly the page, the paragraph... I know that I'm looking for a specific line in the upper part of the left page...

"Is there such a thing as the expropriation of intellectual property? Does the victim of such expropriation, should it indeed exist, have recourse to final deliberation? Is it still worth it?
I might ask about the most impossible things. Who invented writing? What is writing? Is it a property? Who first demanded expropriation?"

"... I'll sleep on my questions in a deep intoxication. I'll worship animals in the night. I'll lay violent hands on the holiest icons, I'll clutch at all lies, I'll grow bestial in my dreams and will allow myself to be slaughtered like a beast"

Excerpts from 'Malina'

Anyone interested in this unique and precious author, go to 'Flowerville' blog, the most inspiring blog (to me).

svetlana boym

From 'The Future of Nostalgia':

“It is the promise to rebuild the ideal home that lies at the core of many powerful ideologies of today, tempting us to relinquish critical thinking for emotional bonding. The danger of nostalgia is that it tends to confuse the actual home and the imaginary one. In extreme cases it can create a phantom homeland, for the sake of which one is ready to die or kill. Unreflected nostalgia breeds monsters. Yet the sentiment itself, the mourning of displacement and temporal irreversibility, is at the very core of the modern condition” (xvi).

Wide Open

"The boar, meanwhile, took one, deep, shuddering breath and then all its breathing ended".

"Luke put out a tentative hand to feel the texture of the boar's pelt. It was rough, like shredded bark. The flesh underneath was still warm to the touch. He had forgotten how cold he was, and how wet. But it was still cold and it was still raining".

nicola barker II

When do we re-read? Is there time to re-read a novel?

"I dreamed I saw you dead in a place by the water. A ravaged place. All flat and empty and wide open. And you were covered in some kind of binding. Like a mummy. Something white and reflective, from head to toe.
And the light shone on you. Oh, how it shone on you! It glanced off you, and it was like a pure, bright silver.
The wind was singing. It sang: you have suffered enough. You have suffered enough.
Then death came and he kissed you. Lightly. Gently. Upon the lips. There is nothing beyond, he whispered, only me, only me.
There is nothing beyond.
Only me"

Now waiting for Barker's new novel, "Darkmans"...

stef penney

Thanks Carmen for this wonderful recommendation!

"Increasingly, they pass the corpses of animals. Now they plod past the skeleton of a deer, which must have been here some time, since it is picked clean but a dark yellowish brown. The skull faces them, within shouting distances of its scattered bones, watching Donald through empty eye sockets, silently reminding him of the futility of their endeavor" (111).

Next, Mrs. Ross, the only character (my favorite) that uses the First Person in the novel:

"The Aurora shimmers in the North like a beautiful dream, and the wind has gone. The sky is vertiginously high and clear, and the deep cold is back--a taut, ringing cold that says there is nothing between me and the infinite depth of space. I crane skyward long after it sends me dizzy. I am aware that I am walking a precarious path, surrounded on all sides by uncertainty and the possibility of disaster. Nothing is within my control. The sky yawns above me like the abyss, and there is nothing at all to stop me from falling, nothing except the wild maze of stars" (223).