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”.