Thursday 26 December 2019

The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner

"The word violence was depleted and generic from overuse and yet it still had power, it still meant something, but multiple things. There were stark acts of it: beating a person to death. And there were more abstract forms, depriving people of jobs, safe housing, adequate schools. There were large-scale acts of it, the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in a single year, for a specious war of lies and bungling, a war that might have no end, but according to some prosecutors, the real monsters were teenagers like Button Sanchez."

Friday 20 December 2019

Violette Leduc, The Lady and the Little Fox Fur (1965)

"The city, despite all its flickering lights, was yielding itself up to the silence of the trees along the avenues, to the desert of the transparent caf├ęs. In a flood of gentleness, the grey statues on the Right Bank and the grey statues on the Left Bank were all posing for the same photographer: the night. The statues were dreaming that they were smiling as the river towed past its vessels built from darkness. She was touching up her picture of Paris. A merry-go-round under a tarpaulin: the epitome of a vast city."

Thursday 19 December 2019

Saturday 14 December 2019

The journey

I’ve been thinking about the narrative of the journey lately particularly after having read a second Kevin Barry book this year (most recently Beatlebone and Night Boat to Tangier a few months back). The journey is the perfect plot device to get a story rolling and although it may seem obvious, the external journeys to places foreign, familiar but long forgotten, long since visited, places of disorientation, new, alien or haunting, uncanny or nostalgic. 

Like reading, travel (the voyage or journey) is often a form of escapism, a new place, a new perspective, a new opportunity to embody a different version of ourselves and test it out in uncharted territory, a safe space for experimentation. The external circumstances of such journeys - the places themselves, the streets, the food, the people we encounter, but perhaps most poignantly the specific and distinct things each individual observes or notices - reflects the journeys that take place internally and the psychic work entailed in or fuelling the running away, avoiding, running towards or discovering. 

Two passages from Beatlebone