KUWENTO (Stories), Self’s First Book

A copy is in Green Library.

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“Beyond the Waters of Death,” Joan Acocella’s New Yorker piece on the making of GILGAMESH (14 October 2019)

  • “A young Londoner, George Smith, who had left school at the age of fourteen and was employed as an engraver of bank notes,” was fascinated by artifacts. He spent lunch breaks at the British Museum and “studied the shards for around ten years . . . it was he who found the most famous passage inscribed on them, an account of a great flood wiping out almost all of humanity, with one man’s family surviving. When he read this, we are told, he became so excited that he jumped out of his chair and ran around the room, tearing off his clothes.”

George Smith died of dysentery in Aleppo, where he’d gone to do research, age 36. But not before he discovered the oldest long poem in the world, Gilgamesh.

Everywhere in the world has an ancient flood story. Even Mexico. Even the Philippines. Self thinks this means there must have been an actual climactic event whose effects were felt worldwide.

Stay safe dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

#backreading The New Yorker, 14 October 2019

Found, in a pile of unread New Yorkers, the issue that lauds Jenny Lewis’s Gilgamesh Retold (available now as an audiobook featuring Jenny reading her own work, on the Carcanet website)

 

It’s partly about George Smith, “an engraver of banknotes,” who “spent his lunch hours at the British Museum, studying its holdings.” Eventually, Smith was hired to “help analyze the thousands of clay shards that had been shipped … ” from “Nineveh, an important city in ancient Mesopotamia … the reason so many tablets had been found in one place was that they were the remains of a renowned library, that of Ashurbanipal, a king of the neo-Assyrian Empire in the seventh century B.C.” The script was written in cuneiform, a script “no one could read.”

The article, by Joan Acocella, is very long. But worth noting is that it reviews Jenny Lewis’s new collection, Gilgamesh Retold. Self has heard Jenny read, and her voice — Shohreh Aghdashloo level.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Her Protector’s Pleasure, Chapter Two: Slay, Slay, Slay

Wow, self is really enjoying this bodice ripper! The writing is so completely immersive! Chapter One was set in a male brothel in Regency London, and ended with the brothel Madam’s own special man being appropriated by the widow MC for … well, dear blog readers can guess.

Chapter Two takes us to the Thames River Police, which is nowhere near as interesting as the brothel. There are two protagonists: one is a member of the Thames River Police (as dear blog reader might have guessed), the other is a man in his fifties whose name is so close to that of the male prostitute that self first thought they were one and the same, until she came to the spot where the the author describes the man as being in his fifties. At which point, self said, Oh.

Anyhoo, blah blah blah goes on between the two.

Self is alternating between Her Protector’s Pleasure and Cibola Burn. In Cibola Burn, SPOILER ALERT! Murtry and Holden meet. Holden waves and smiles, Murtry shoots a man right in front of Holden. TROUBLE, this man MURTRY is TROUBLE WITH A CAPITAL ‘T.’ Self adores Burn Gorman, the actor who plays him in the TV series  The Expanse. And of course it goes without saying that she adores Steven Strait.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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