Future daze

   Instant review. 100% content. All Rino Breebaart.
SONG LOGIC - my new book!
An Ridire Risteard
This space
Juan Cole
  See also The Slow Review or the Long Slow Blog or Twitter @Rinosphere.



Lefkosia, Pedoulas, Lapitos, Kyrenia, Pafos, Polis, Pomos.

Braving the 30 degree plus heat. The excesses of modern tourism contrasted with Byzantine monasteries, Roman mosaics and cool mountains. Witnessing first hand the ‘last partitioned capital’ and the deep-seated distrust of Turks for ever more, as well as the warmest hospitality from one Turkish-Cypriot family. Observation on the Turkish-supported occupation, with parallels in Palestine: you depoliticise an issue by privatising it. It’s much harder to remove arrogant foreign settlers with their fat British pounds and proprietary rights, who buy into the land thinking it’s legitimate development because the pre-invasion ownership issue was completely glossed over. Expect an old, angry family from the South at your door, deeds in hand. The issue is inadvertently forced onto the EU now with Turkey’s negotiation for accession, but there are also massive economic barriers between the two sides (the Turkish-Cypriot currency is inflated to the millions, vis. the stable, unfloated southern Pound), in addition to the general animosity. But then a lot of Turkish Cypriots were also displaced from the south. A unified Cyprus still seems a long way off.

Belgium’s bread-vending machines are paralleled with water vending machines in Cyprus. Mountain water! Histrionic Greek television. The blue band of the Mediterranean never too distant. Hungry cats milling around restaurants. Keo beers. Always trust the choice or presence of locals. Orthodox iconography. The layering of historical invaders. The fine line between graciousness and excessive hospitality. The fact of girls in bikinis and dark-skinned guys with sunglasses sitting nearby. The extreme demographic contrast of the hotel strip and the old town. The mild ignominy of selling useless, indifferent trinkets to bloated tourists (a vision of obese pink crabs scuttling to the water)(and no, I don't think I saw Aphrodite, but I did witness several Venus of Willendorf rising from the water). Motorbike sunburn. Haloumi and watermelon. Turkish cigars. And the potential for a simple life, lived well.

Aparichoritos means heartbreak.

Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer

I loved it so much I read it twice through, enamoured as I am of the mechanics of literature. First for the story, then for the wheels and aerodynamics. Of note is the way every narrative tangent-line is about writing/writers in some way: the fawning young over-imaginer, the starlet identity-thief, the validation of the spiritual father at the expense of the biological, the particularities of Jewish lit personalities in America (I was tempted to collate pieces of Bellow from the mosaic). And most importantly, the corrective realities behind the literary daydream (‘the religion of art’), especially for those who have to live with the artists. Which drama is pointedly crisp, contained and efficient.

I think I like Roth’s shorter novels best. This one has one of his least ambivalent endings.

I love the canny juxtaposition of Zuckerman’s love of light, airy ballet dancers with his earthy desire to pin them (and others) to the floor.

I love the confident association with literary predecessors and giants, with literary savvy (Zuckerman quotes boldly). The mix of youthful/brash imagination and solidifying confidence is just right. I keep thinking that Roth is precise in his wideness, which may sound a little non-sequiturial but I mean he can capture a wide gamut of narrative (character, anecdote/tangent, drama, pointed contrast and choice detail), at times with extreme, nearly conspiratorial brevity, especially as they relate to the becoming-writer or humour. Though there is an occasional tendency to lead/preach, everything rolls and slots in neatly, everything is sufficient. Which is the high water-mark of literature.

My guess was that it would take even the fiercest Hun the better part of a winter to cross the glacial waterfalls and wind-blasted woods of those mountain wilds before he was able to reach the open edge of Lonoff’s hayfields, rush the rear storm door of the house, crash through into the study, and, with spiked bludgeon wheeling high in the air above the little Olivetti, cry out in a roaring voice to the writer tapping out his twenty-seventh draft, “You much change your life!” And even he might lose heart and turn back to the bosom of his barbarian family should he approach those black Massachusetts hills on a night like this, with the coktail hour at hand and yet another snowstorm arriving from Ultima Thule. [I wonder how Rilke would apreciate such reduction to barbarism, p27]

[On Betsy] ...those elegant, charming tableaux she could achieve, even when engaged in something so aesthetically unpromising as, half asleep in the midle of the night, taking a lonely pee in my bathroom. [love that ‘unpromising’, p35]

Hope tried her luck with a self-effacing smile, but the wattage was awfully dim. [p41]

The charm [of Felix Abravanel] was like a moat so oceanic that you could not even see the great turreted and buttressed thing it had been dug to protect. You couldn’t even find the drawbridge... It was a head that the Japanese technicians, with their ingenuity for miniaturizing, might have designed, and then given over to the Jews to adorn with the rug-dealer’s thinning dark hair, the guarded appraising black eyes, and a tropical bird’s curving bill. A fully Semeticised little transistor on top, terrific clothes down below – and still the overall impression was of somebody’s stand-in. [p58-59, possible deliberate close skirting to racial stereotypes {he is projecting the 50s and mild naivety} to echo the young writer flirting with cliche]

"We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art." [James, p116]

...Insipid best-sellers from which real people learned about fake people who could not exist and would not matter if they did. [out of context but nice, Zappa would agree, p148]
Also, on PopMatters, my revamped article on the Stateless Passport.
Such a passport could represent a great advance in galvanising and normalising human rights, and counterbalance many of the inequalities experienced around the world (such as the idea of class-based inequality or second class citizenship, or the unethical exploitation of global labour forces that corporations and conspiratorial governments already enjoy). It would give freedom of movement to the people and eliminate the low status of refugees by recognising citizens of the world, which we all are. To be stateless in this sense may seem like an existential crisis or a global analogue for homelessness, but from another point of view it would translate into true neutrality and feeling at home everywhere.

posted by rino breebaart  # 8:08 am
Comments: Post a Comment
Site Feed
Go to Top/Main. Email? - post a comment.


02/04   03/04   04/04   05/04   06/04   07/04   08/04   09/04   10/04   11/04   12/04   01/05   02/05   03/05   04/05   05/05   06/05   07/05   08/05   09/05   10/05   11/05   01/06   02/06   03/06   04/06   05/06   06/06   08/06  

Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?