Svetlana Alexievich: Women, War

“I observed more than once how in their conversations the small overrode the great, even history.” — Svetlana Alexievich

“It’s a pity that I was beautiful only during the war . . .  My best years were spent there. Burned up. Afterward I aged quickly . . . ” — Anna Galai, submachine gunner

Self Can’t Even: MIRROR, SHOULDER, SIGNAL

Heavy reference to Girl With the Dragon Tattoo author Stieg Larsson, pp. 32- 33 (Ellen is the narrator’s massage therapist):

She loves a good crime story. She’s read all the novels by Stieg Larsson, and she’s also read one by Gosta Svensson.

“Now, I do prefer Stieg Larsson,” she says, but that must only be because, during her last massage, Sonja blamed Gosta for wrecking her wrists. For naturally, Ellen must be wild about Gosta. A big reason for Gosta’s success is his tight grip on women. The tweed jacket and the way he’s always photographed in the rain.

Snark!

Stay tuned.

The Aggravations of Being a Woman Detective

Missing, Presumed, p. 329

“Listen, he’s a prick,” says Bryony, “top totty like you.”

“He might still change his mind,” says Davy, who seems back to his old self.

“Davy,” says Bryony. “Let’s not give the patient false hope.”

lol

lol

lol

Stay tuned.

 

Manon Bradshaw, Growing On You

Missing, Presumed starts out like some bad comedy.

Detective Manon Bradshaw, based in Cambridgeshire (Somewhere, maybe Huntingdon) goes on a blind date, engages in anonymous bad sex.

She will have two more dates.

In the meantime, a missing persons case unfolds purely by-the-book.

The point, self thinks, is not the case, but the characters around the police station. Characters like the lovely 26-year-old man with jug ears, Davey. Or their fierce, completely work-obsessed boss, Harriet. Envy is aroused by a workmate who has a brand new iPad. And so forth.

You want to know how Secret Santa is played by police in Cambridgeshire? Head to Missing, Presumed for answers!

Out of sheer luck (or author feeling generous with readers), Manon Bradshaw gets AN ADMIRER! Who is a systems engineer! Wears trainers but so what, he has “elegant hands”!

They have the same taste in movies, end up watching My Life As a Dog together. They spend the entire time snogging (Bradshaw is 39, the engineer 42. Self doesn’t know if these two spending an entire movie snogging is delightful or EEEUUUW)

After, they have coffee.

p. 259:

He loops his maroon scarf over the back of the chair, saying, “I loved the stuff about the dog sent into orbit by the Russians. Think of him and nothing is that bad in comparison.”

Oh, she thinks, you were concentrating.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ALL SYSTEMS RED, p.32

Murderbot just saved two humans on his team from being eaten by a monster that lived in a crater.

The whole crew tries to be kind, but Murderbot is in a hurry to get away so he can continue watching vid in his room.

Mensah (the Leader of the Crew): Try to pinpoint any missing information. When we have a partial list, I’ll call DeltFall and see if they can send us the files.

Murderbot Interior Monologue: That sounds like a great plan, in that it didn’t involve me.

Murderbot (out loud): Dr. Mensah, do you need me for anything else?

lol

Stay tuned.

Paladin Tries Social Interaction With a Humint In a Bar

Autonomous, p. 147:

After ordering tea, the man slouched so far over the bar that Paladin could see a pale stripe of skin showing above the waistband of his pants. It was time to try his opening gambit. Offer a piece of personal information, and humans will be sure to offer some of their own.

“I have never been here before, and it is not what I expected,” Paladin vocalized, turning his torso and face towards the man, who looked up with an expression of vague surprise. He hadn’t expected anyone to talk to him, least of all a giant robot.

lol

lol everywhere.

Stay tuned.

Robot Wants To Learn About Humint Sexual Practices: AUTONOMOUS, P. 96

Paladin. Is. An. Adorable. Robot.

Makes a pass (unprogrammed!) at his human handler, Eliasz, in a very subtle way, which does not fool Eliasz, not one bit.

Trigger Warning: Homophobia

Paladin: Some of the robots said they were learning about human sexuality. Do you think military robots need to do that?

Eliasz (Flushing): I don’t know anything about that. I’m not a faggot.

Paladin begins searching his database for uses of the word “faggot.”

He is so absorbed that even in defensive mode (activated because of an attack), 20% of his mind is still pre-occupied with searches for the word. So while shooting people in the face, data comes in and “he could start to build a taxonomy. Each use of ‘faggot’ could be categorized, and he began assigning them to subcategories.”

lol

Stay tuned.

 

 

Breaking News: Highbury

EMMA, Vol. III Chapter X

Mr. Weston shows up one day to fetch Emma, telling her only that she is needed at Randalls, something has happened.

Emma goes with Mr. Weston at once, and pleads with him to tell her what has happened.

“Do not be impatient, Emma; it will all come out too soon.”

“Good God! Mr. Weston, tell me at once. Something has happened in Brunswick Square. I know it has . . . Mr. Weston, do not trifle with me.”

Brunswick Square is the London address of the Knightleys. Emma’s sister and brother-in-law and their children are there. More importantly, Mr. Knightley (George) has just left for Brunswick Square, alone, on horseback (How very dashing! How self wishes she, too, could leap on a horse and say, at a moment’s notice: Headed to London! Ta!)

Mr. Weston hastens to reassure Emma: “Upon my honour . . . It is not in the smallest degree connected with any human being of the name of Knightley.”

Indeed? The plot thickens!

Stay tuned.

High Comedy

EMMA: Volume II Chapter XV

Far be it for self to attempt to sum up the Immortal Jane, but time is short and self has a book (nay, many books!) to complete. If only self could keep up this arch language for a moment longer — so that she could finish her work-in-progress set in, naturally, Regency England!

But, she digresses.

A chapter or two ago, Mrs. Weston confided to Emma that she believes Mr. Knightley is in love with Jane Fairfax. This suggestion puts Emma in high dudgeon (even though she has never, hitherto, thought of Mr. Knightley in any way other than a brother)

So, Emma decides to probe about the nature of his feelings for Jane Fairfax (Among other things, Jane was the recipient of a piano from a mysterious benefactor. And, pianos being expensive, suspicion on the possible donor centers on Mr. Knightley). She asks him a direct question about Jane. What follows is a most delightful episode of “foot pressing.” Self never encountered the like in any of the Jane Austen novels she has read to date. You know, when someone is about to put her/his foot in her/his mouth and someone gives you a kick under the table? As a kind of warning?

Here’s the scene:

Mr. Knightley was hard at work upon the lower buttons of his thick leather gaiters, and either the exertion of getting them together, or some other cause, brought the colour into his face, as he answered,

“Oh, are you there? — But you are miserably behind-hand. Mr. Cole gave me a hint of it six weeks ago.”

He stopped. Emma felt her foot pressed by Mrs. Weston, and did not know herself what to think. In a moment he went on —

“That will never be, however, I can assure you. Miss Fairfax, I dare say, would not have me if I were to ask her — and I am very sure I shall never ask her.”

He becomes annoyed with Emma’s questions, and then thoughtful. Jane Fairfax, Mr. Knightley says, “has a fault. She has not the open temper which a man would wish for in a wife.”

!!!!! Emma, open your eyes! Open your eyes!

Stay tuned.

More of Mr. Knightley

After it was shown how Mr. Knightley dislikes Frank Churchill, self found herself developing quite a liking for Mr. Knightley (She read somewhere in the Introduction that he’s the richest man thereabouts, so while everyone is acting like a perfect bounder, Mr. Knightley giving himself no airs is very attractive. Just saying)

The next we see of him is when Emma accepts an invitation to an evening’s entertainment at the Coles’. Her carriage arrives at the Coles’ just ahead of another and it pleases Emma that the carriage ahead belongs to Mr. Knightley (quelle bonne chance!)

Self will just say the following passage in her own words because Austen takes too long to get to the point: the point being that it is Mr. Knightley who extends his hand to help Emma out of her carriage. The following conversation ensues, which self finds absolutely adorable and enchanting because Emma fusses so at Mr. Knightley, and he is 16 years her senior.

Emma: This is coming as you should do, like a gentleman.

Mr. Knightley: How lucky that we should arrive at the same moment! For, if we had met first in the drawing-room, I doubt whether you would have discerned me to be more of a gentleman than usual.

Thanks to Emma’s interior monologue (which Austen manages to pull off even though the point of view is third person), we know that Mr. Knightley, “having . . . a great deal of health, activity, and independence,” does not often resort to using his carriage.

Emma: There is always a look of consciousness or bustle when people come in a way which they know to be beneath them. You think you carry it off very well, I dare say, but with you it is a sort of bravado, an air of unaffected concern; I always observe it when I meet you under those circumstances.

Hmm, self wonders. Why did Mr. Knightley resort to his carriage? Could he be trying to show up Frank Churchill?

What is Mr. Knightley’s first name, anyway? It can’t be John, because that’s his brother’s name. It can’t be Frank, because then he would have the same first name as his ‘rival.’

It can’t be Edward because no Edwards are ever becoming. At least not in Regency fiction. Self thinks. Hopes.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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