Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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1  Books / Latin American Literature / Re: Latin American Literature on: June 25, 2008, 08:18:18 AM
Hi Miriam - that's good news - well done.

2  Books / Creative Writing / Re: Creative Writing on: June 16, 2008, 01:14:51 PM
Beppo: A fan o' Joyce, are ye?

I've swam a few lengths in the scrotumtighteningsea...
3  Books / Creative Writing / Re: Creative Writing on: June 12, 2008, 03:47:31 PM
hostagehead mindwaves braved some spherical ogmire enlisting twistface andrun fithoughts yet wokwhack naughty sautésmacks (keeper of the black, blank, bank loot and all round villain) ruled that geometry with an iron fist; so perfectly still, (not a saute stirred), he flew through the dew of the breathblew and clueless still, turned his single eye upon the wokmeister...
4  Books / Latin American Literature / Re: Latin American Literature on: June 10, 2008, 05:27:47 PM

I think you're right where the Kafka link is concerned. Looks like the shoemaker was perhaps promised some things that never transpired. It reminds me of that other short by Kafka - "Before The Law". A message that cannot arrive but is most assuredly on its way. It's quite difficult to separate anything in this short book from that torture scene in the basement.

I'm still reading The Gift by Nabokov - had a moment the other day that reminded me, in some way, of one of the things on the list you posted previously: the right to mistake a book for real life. I've been really enjoying The Gift - I'm reading it mostly at lunchtime, in a busy kitchen/lunching area. Well, the other day, I was driving across the city in which I live and having stopped at traffic lights I looked up to my left and there was a street sign bearing the name Agamemnon Street. Having never heard of this street before I reflected in some way (who Agamemnon was etc.,) and then drove off. I may well have commiserated myself on my interrupted reading of The Iliad a while back and that maybe was that. A couple of days later (or was it the next day) I'm reading my usual few pages of The Gift and then, amidst the chatter, my eyes rolled across the page to the word Agamemnonstrasse. The poet of the novel discovers that his time has come in his current rented abode and has to up sticks and move on to a new place, the new place being a room in a house on Agamemnonstrasse (1920's Berlin). I allowed myself a smile but it seems that's that. It made me check some things out in the hope that, in the words of Fyodor, the coincidence may have had one more stage, and who knows it might have yet: but I doubt it. Nonetheless, it was a little lunchtime high. And it brought back memories of visiting Berlin...

ps. I struggled to get into both By Night in Chile and Blindness simply because I'd read them a while back and struggled in the department of motivation to read them again, what with so may books nodding at me from my bookshelf. But I haven't read The Savage Detectives and what with 2666 scheduled for release later this year it would be a good one for the summer* perhaps...

I'm still struggling to get the Fuentes book. 

* /winter, depending on location...

5  Books / Latin American Literature / Re: Latin American Literature on: June 01, 2008, 06:49:59 PM
Mringel - the priest's silences are less than immaculate when compared with those of the Guatemalan painter. And what about the curiosity that is the shoemaker, "a merchant who made a fortune importing shoes from somewhere and selling them somewhere else"? What's the join between the morbid Guatemalan painter and the Austro-Hungarian shoemaker that allows the author to move effortlessly from one page to the other, without hardly a breath, other than the comment ascribed to Farewell that "...the literature of heroism vast that two people with diametrically opposed tastes and ideas could dip into it at random without any likelihood of hitting on the same thing"?

And who is Ernst Jünger and what's he doing in the painter's apartment?

6  Books / Latin American Literature / Re: Latin American Literature on: May 30, 2008, 08:03:19 AM
When I was teenager Cliff Richard came to my country to give a show. We all screamed like it is written in the "books"...knew all the words of the songs etc. etc.

Tut, tut Mringel - that's unforgiveable   Smiley

Glad you enjoyed By Night in Chile - I've been a bit bust recently but if you've got anything to post on it go ahead - I read it a while ago...

I'm reading The Gift by Nabokov at the moment.

Had a look for the Fuentes book but struggling to get a copy.
7  Books / Creative Writing / Re: Creative Writing on: May 14, 2008, 03:57:16 PM
the hero, the legend, the mythical...
8  Books / Creative Writing / Re: Creative Writing on: May 14, 2008, 01:49:21 PM
Suddenly, and without warning, he heard a voice:

"...Professor Knopfler has informed me that you can no longer be trusted...
9  Books / Creative Writing / Re: Creative Writing on: May 14, 2008, 01:36:50 PM
"You can expect major delays on the southbound freeway this morning...", Harold awoke in a foggy stupor and looked around the darkened room as the unfamiliar voice from the clock radio continued to report on the congestion and lane closures of various highways and streets the names of which he did not recognize.

He slowly climbed out of the bed and gingerly reached for the lavender drapes...
10  Books / Latin American Literature / Re: Latin American Literature on: May 14, 2008, 08:06:06 AM
I found a book by Roberto Bolaño - Nocturno de Chile (nocturno of chile)
Any recomendation?

I'd recommend By Night in Chile. 
11  Books / Meander Where You May / Re: Meander Where You May on: May 14, 2008, 08:03:47 AM


"One article, published in January 1977, reported that Vladimir had completed his new novel in his head but would not reveal details.
'I must have gone through it some 50 times and in my diurnal delirium kept reading it aloud to a small dream audience in a walled garden,' the novelist wrote. 'My audience consisted of peacocks, pigeons, my long dead parents, two cypresses, several young nurses crouching around, and a family doctor so old as to be invisible.'

And Dmitri's response to either this or one of the many articles like it --





138! Is it a case of the more the merrier?

Dmitri Nabokov has said, at some point previous, something along the lines of 'the most distilled concentration of my father's creative abilities'. What a statement! In an interview when questioned about a financial motive behind the decision he said that it might end up being quite expensive to modify his wheelchair to access his Maserati - you wouldn't imagine there being a financial motive behind the publication. In Andrew Field's biography of Nabokov he writes that he expects TOOL to remain in the vault for a long time - longer than (with D's decision) what it has done. Field also quotes the figures VN was reputedly paid for Lolita which back then seems like a lot of money. I wonder what kind of figures will be spoken of in relation to the publication of TOOL?

Two things that always strike me when reading about Nabokov's life is the amount of times he moved house and the choice to eventually live in a hotel in Switzerland rather than a house - although Field does say that the Nabokov's did try and find a house in Montreaux. It reads like a classic life in exile.
12  Books / Latin American Literature / Re: Latin American Literature on: May 11, 2008, 04:33:31 PM
I read your message and I deeply thank you. It reminds me of something I've mentioned in our old forum. A book of a French writer who is also a teacher.
Daniel PennacLike a Novel in which he struggle with the fact that young people do not read a lot nowadays and he writes something that I always tell myself and my friends:
The Ten rights of the reader:
1.   The right not to read
2.   The right to skip
3.   The right not to finish a book
4.   The right to read it again
5.   The right to read anything
6.   The right to mistake a book for real life
7.   The right to read anywhere
8.   The right to dip in
9.   The right to read out load
10.   The right to be quiet

I recommend reading the interview with Pennac. I think many of the questions we ask ourselves, as readers, parents or teachers are dealt in this link:

Thanks for the above Miriam  Smiley   

As for the next book some here are some more suggestions: Italo Calvino - If on a winter's night a traveller, Roberto Bolaño The Savage Detectives or Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar. I will also take a look for the availabilty of Humberto Constantini - Of Gods, the little Guys and the Police. Another book I can get is the book mentioned by nnyhav - The Death of Artemio Cruz by Fuentes....

13  Books / Meander Where You May / Re: Meander Where You May on: May 11, 2008, 11:06:47 AM

That's funny! Is he saying then that the ascribing to him of the odd locution "right old mess" is a load of old cobblers?   

Beppo -- ha!

(I'm still trying to wade through all the articles on the release including Dmitri's responses to find an actual likely publication date ..)

I've read about the amount of index cards Nabokov had for Ada or Ardor (2000 odd) compared fearfully to the amount Dimitri supposedly has locked up in the Swiss bank vault where he and one other only have exclusive access. Is it 125 cards? I thought I read elsewhere that there were only 30? So will Dimitri have to shuffle the index cards and deal the world a novel? Ha! There's something about the whole thing that somewhow makes for a good laugh.
14  Books / Meander Where You May / Re: Meander Where You May on: May 11, 2008, 10:58:55 AM
Whilst reading about Nabokov today I saw this and thought it was quite humorous for the images that it conjures up of both parties -

"...and Nabokov was quite a clown. He pretended to be Borges, and he pretended to be all these things…"

"How do you pretend to be Borges?"

"He put on a poncho and blind glasses."

"Oh no!"

15  Books / Latin American Literature / Re: Latin American Literature on: May 11, 2008, 10:22:20 AM
Beppo....are you asking if a male led government would be better/different than a female led government (in this particular instance)?  At the beginning of the book, Saramago gives us a disfunctional and uncaring government, presumably male dominated.  Later, the thugs (male) take over the role of the government, and the system they form is even worse than the official one.  Then the Doctor's Wife becomes the government.  The Doctor's Wife is better at governing than the others were.  There are many aspects of the situation that she is powerless to were the official government and the thugs.  But perhaps she is a better governor because she cares for her small band and does her best to provide for their needs?

The situation is interesting to me because Saramago likes to write strong females.  (Look at Blimunda and the Doctor's wife....both strong women who are driven but not weakened by love.)  So on the one hand he gives us a protagonist and wants us to feel something for her while he creates her to be the very thing he wants us to beware  (government).

Yes - your last sentence there points towards the balance Saramago achieves. I think he writes a strong character but never allows this character to overshadow the bigger picture. And yet the opposition of single female vs male-domination works to create an effect that remains intact once the book is finished - if a book could have a gender Blindness might be female.

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