Daoud, Still Reading

It’s about one murder and then it’s about another murder and why oh why. It’s such a dark book.

But, good writing. And exceptionally long paragraphs.

In fact, I slept for nearly three days straight, a heavy sleep with waking moments that barely revealed to me my own name. I stayed there in my bed, unmoving, without ideas or projects, my body new and amazed.

The language is truly mesmerizing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

London Last Summer: St. Bride’s (TW: Possibly Disturbing Visual)

Trigger Warning: Possibly Disturbing Content

Took self a long time to find this church (She finally had to ask a cab driver who was parked on Fleet Street; His answer: “Course I know where St. Bride’s is; I’m a London cabbie!”)

The Stations of the Cross were a series of photographs which, well — gulp. Put her in mind of, you know, that:

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Stations of the Cross, St. Bride’s Church, London (June 2015)

And here’s her reading for the day from The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, which is set in Algiers:

In this movie I saw one day, a man was mounting some long flights of stairs to reach an altar where he was supposed to have his throat cut by way of soothing some god or other. The man was climbing with his head down, moving slowly, heavily, as if exhausted, undone, subdued, but most of all as if already dispossessed of his own body. I was struck by his fatalism, by his incredible passivity.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Daoud Sentence of the Day

“I lived my life in absolute freedom, which lasted exactly 40 days.”

The Meursault Investigation (translated from the French by John Cullen)

Self can relate. Reading this at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: “Taka ti e pisano”

The quote for today is not from Daoud’s novel. Instead, it’s from an article in the November/December Poets & Writers magazine. That issue focused on translation (Which, since most of the books self reads are translations, like the Daoud, like the Candide she just finished reading), which is a topic that fascinates her.

The quote above is from the Bulgarian, and it means “That’s what is written for you.”

The author of the article, Angela Rodel, asks herself, How did I become a translator of Bulgarian literature?

She begins her piece with a wonderful quote from Mexican writer and translator Reynol Vazquez:

There are many sophisticated ways of starving yourself to death and being a translator from Bulgarian is one of them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Time, Aging in Daoud

When self began this slim novel, she was a little bit skeptical.

It seemed like a gimmick: tell the same story that’s been immortalized by Albert Camus in The Stranger. But tell it from the point of view of a secondary character.

So far, 27 pages in (and it’s taken her a week just to get 27 pages in), nothing has happened.

Seriously. Nothing.

27 pages of backstory.

What if this whole novel is backstory? Self would say that’s quite brilliant: she loves doing backstory. If she could get away with writing a novel that was all backstory, she’d be on it like white on rice.

Now, where were we?

Oh, yes. Sentence of the Day. Apologies for the long build-up. Here it is:

  • The diminishment that comes with old age often strikes me as incredible, compared with the long history of a whole life.

And self really feels this sentence.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Still Reading Daoud

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Window, Sunday, Annaghmakerrig

Algiers still scares me, though. It has nothing to say to me and remembers neither me nor my family. And picture this: One summer, it was 1963, I think, right after Independence, I went back to Algiers . . . But I barely got out of the train station before I lost my resolve and turned back.

The Meursault Investigation, Kamel Daoud (translated from the French by John Cullen)

Sentence of the Day: Daoud’s

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Saturday, Annaghmakerrig

  • Later, of course, I thought about it, and little by little, I concluded that there must be — among the thousand versions Mama offered, among her memory fragments and her still-vivid intuitions — there must be one version truer than the others.

The Meursault Investigation, by Kamel Daoud

(translated from the French by John Cullen)

Language, Reticence, Mystery: Stil Reading Daoud

Self is still in the opening pages of Daoud. If she (and dear blog readers) are lucky, she’ll still be reading this (thin, spare) novel in a month’s time, mining it for its language.

  • “Do you know what we were called in those days? Uled el-assas, the sons of the guardian. Of the watchman, to be more precise. My father worked as a night watchman in a factory where they made I don’t know what. One night, he disappeared. And that’s all.”

— from The Meursault Investigation, by Kamel Daoud (translated from the French by John Cullen)

Again, Daoud

You drink a language, you speak a language, and one day it owns you; and from then on, it falls into the habit of grasping things in your place, it takes over your mouth like a lover’s voracious kiss.

The Meursault Investigation, Kamel Daoud (translated from the French by John Cullen)

Quote of the Day: Kamel Daoud

“I think I can guess why people write true stories. Not to make themselves famous but to make themselves more invisible, and all the while clamoring for a piece of the world’s true core.”

The Meursault Investigation, by Kamel Daoud (trans. from the French by John Cullen)

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