Wednesday, August 31, 2005


This picture is from Callao, my favourite part of Lima. The port area of the town, its heyday was the 1900s and this house is typical of the quite unusual architecture.

I am back from Lima now, I can confirm that I read 'East of Eden' and 'Living to tell the tale' voraciously but 'Dr Zhivago' didn't work out as a holiday book and it looks brilliant but it needs a more concentrated attitude.

Here is one particular moment from 'Living to tell the tale' that I think captures the whole spirit of what Marquez is about. Latin America is a crazy place where lots of weird and wonderful things happen and this is what comes out in the fiction. For some reason the fiction of Marquez has always appeared very difficult whilst the non-fiction like 'News of a kidnapping' is wonderful. He explains in his book that to him the margins between reporting and fiction aren't always clear and he seems to switch from one to another with ease. At the same time capturing the absurd and wonderful things that probably happen everywhere but are captured and magnified by Marquez.

"In the paroxysm of war the rumour circulated that civilian airplanes from SCADTA were militarised and armed as fighting squadrons and that one of them, lacking bombs, dispersed a Holy Week procession in the Peruvian town of Guepi with a bombardment of coconuts."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

This is from Lima Peru!

Managed to finish East of Eden by John Steinbeck. A really wonderful book. Especially as it is concerned with nobility and virtue in American Life. One thing that was interesting was that he refers to power structures as spiders webs. The higher level you go up the weaker the thread becomes. Explaining very simply how it can appear that with greater authority there is a lowering in creativity and intelligence and more of a desire to {follow the party line{. It also goes into great depth about how a lie can infect and corrupt everyone involved in it.

A great epic, I am still fairly obsessed with the characters and the events they had to deal with. I was really hooked to this book and finished it within two days. It may be considered very old fashioned nowadays to be concerned with something as simple as honesty but I think it would be something that should be very highly valuable to everyone.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I recently bought a copy of 'Life in letters' - the letters of John Steinbeck. It is wonderful reading. Here are two short excerpts from a letter written in December 1931:

"Dear Ted,
After the silence of ages, I have three letters from you all on the same day: To you I say Happy Christmas and Happy 1932. I found several things in your letters which were very amusing. The first is the complete belief of M. and O. [his agents] that I conceal masterpieces. I have written to them denying this. . .

Toby gets to singing so loudly that the police interfere. Were you at the beach with us the night he nearly drowned in his soup? I heard a gurgling noise beside me and there was Toby with his nose submerged in his soup snoring it in and gradually drowning. I have a feeling you were there."

Monday, August 01, 2005

Newman once said: 'Let us avoid talking, of whatever kind.'

Those of you who know me will realise why I have similar feelings to Newman!

Owen Chadwick in his small 'Past Masters' book on Newman explain the statement:

"Something in the stance was the feeling, how poor are words in this corrupt world. We have real feelings. Words prevent us from explaining the reality of these feelings; so we appear cold to one another when we are not."