Sentence of the Day: Manderley Forever, p. 85

The next day, a walk in the Tiergarten pales beside Daphne’s memories of the Bois de Bolougne: the passersby all look so dour and plain, and while the Kaiser’s former palace in Potsdam is undeniably impressive, as is Frederick the Great’s Sanssouci Palace, it still isn’t Paris.

Transmogrification, Other

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge:

Transmogrify means: to transform, change, morph

Posts from other bloggers:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

EVERY MAN DIES ALONE, by Hans Fallada, p. 118

The book self is currently reading is very bleak. It’s set in World War II Berlin and tracks the lives of ordinary Berliners, all of them residents of one apartment building. The people have lived there since before Hitler, so naturally the population includes some Jews.

The very title of the book should serve as a warning. For a while self debated the wisdom of reading a book like this just before Thanksgiving. For a while she worried that the book would make her feel depressed, isolated, alienated. But the sobering reality is: reading this book makes self feel — paradoxically cheerful.

Reading a book like Every Man Dies Alone (The translation from the German is by Michael Hofmann, the publisher is Melville House) is tremendously eye-opening, even therapeutic. It makes self question every single complaint she’s made in the past week/month/year/decade.

Self can’t help thanking her lucky stars that she lives in California. Safeway is less than a mile away, which means it is very walkable, Hallelujah! As an American living in California, she is surrounded by a plethora of pleasurable distractions. Like animated movies (“Penguins of Madagascar” was great). Like fan fiction. Like “Gotham” which shows every Monday night. Consumerism does tend to dull the senses.

SPOILER ALERT

In the section self is on, a Jewish woman whose apartment has just been ransacked by her neighbors is given refuge by a retired judge. He gives her strict instructions not to go out, blah blah blah.

After spending a day in utter loneliness and mental anguish (Her husband is in prison, she has no one to talk to, etc etc), she decides to go out. Next thing you know, she runs into some brownshirts, tells them her name (Frau Rosenthal), tells them her husband is incarcerated somewhere, and that she has two sons.

What? What? What?

Oh boy, self can hardly wait to see what happens next. She is really worried for that retired judge!

Stay tuned.

Discoveries, First Saturday of September (2014)

Yesterday, while standing at the check-out line in Whole Foods on Jefferson, self saw a CD by Ed Sheeran. She was curious, as apparently he is a great favorite of the writers on fanfiction.net  So she bought his CD and listened to it at home and, you know, it reminds her of old rock. But it’s pleasant. Something new to listen to while driving!

Today was peaceful. She mostly watered.

She’s very much enjoying Dark Star, by Alan Furst. He writes ridiculously well, for someone who writes spy thrillers.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

On p. 52, the hero of the story, Szara, lands in Berlin (after a particularly nasty encounter with some hired assassins — he escapes by the skin of hist teeth). This is what he sees of the city from his hotel room:

Szara stared out a high window, watching umbrellas moving down the street like phantoms. It seemed to him the city’s very own, private weather, for Berliners lived deep inside themselves — it could be felt — where they nourished old insults and humiliated ambitions of every sort, all of it locked up within a courtesy like forged metal and an acid wit that never seemed meant to hurt — it just, apparently by accident, left a little bruise.

Lovely writing, isn’t it?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Kyi May Kaung: Berlin, 2005

In October 2005, self and a bunch of other Southeast Asian writers were flown to Berlin to give a reading at the House of World Culture as part of a conference called “Sending Signals.”  Musicians, writers, film-makers, and visual artists from Burma, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines were gathered in a hotel at the edge of the Tiergarten.  That was also where self met the writers Linh Dinh and Rattawut Lapcharoensap, and where she met a poet from Burma, Kyi May Kaung.

All these years later, self still keeps in touch with Kyi.

Self once saw an Escalade in the Costco parking lot with the license plate “Myanmar.”  She couldn’t believe it and rushed home to call Kyi.

Her somewhat acerbic response:  “If the license plate was Myanmar then I am 100% sure the car belonged to a member of the ruling party.  They’re the only ones who refer to Burma as Myanmar.”

That was a moment.

In December last year, self asked Kyi if it would be OK to post some of her poetry in this blog.  Kyi sent over six poems.  Self doesn’t know why it took her three whole months to get one of Kyi’s poems posted but here, at last, is one:

Travel warning for Burma — some places may be closed.  Ethnic cleansing going on — in 1962 they called it “cleaning the Augean stables.”

Actually, that wasn’t poetry.  That came from one of Kyi’s tweets.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

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