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).

sylvia plath

From the 'Cambridge Notes' (In Notebooks, February 1956)

"To whom it may concern: Every now and then there comes a time when the neutral and impersonal forces of the world turn and come together in a thundercrack of judgement. There is no reason for the sudden terror, the feeling of condemnation, except that circumstances all mirror the inner doubt, the inner fear".

Friday, August 10, 2007

nicole krauss

I never imagined all the references to Chile in 'The History of Love': small publishing houses in Santiago, Nicanor Parra, Valparaíso...

I like the fantasy that surrounds books, their destinies, movements, elusiveness. Here, a quote I think pretty much summarizes the idea of this novel:

"Of the two thousand original copies printed of 'The History of Love', some were bought and read, many were bought and not read, some were given as gifts, some sat fading in bookstore windows serving as landing docks for flies, some were marked up with pencil, and a good many were sent to paper compactor, where they were shredded to a pulp along with other unread or unwanted books, their sentences parsed and minced in the machine's spinning blades. Staring out the window, Litvinoff imagined the two thousand copies of 'The History of Love' as a flock of two thousand homing pigeons that could flap their wings and return to him to report on how many cruel closings of the cover after reading barely a page, how many never opened at all".