Friday, March 25, 2011

Christos Tsiolkas

I have started to read 'The Slap' by Christos Tsoilkas and it is proving to be quite a good read. As an Australian, Tsiolkas seems determined to write in contrast to what he sees as 'dry / academic' european modern literature. Certainly, this book is a good read and I am sure it is well written. I have to admire Tsiolkas that he champions Updike's 'Couples' as an example of the best type of writing there could be.

The book has been described as 'soap-opera like' and it is certainly gripping, it reminds me at times of a film the it tries to bring in twists and turns. It also changes narrator each chaptor. Tsiolkas tries to say that writing needs to be more engaging - rather than escapist.

Isn't it ironic that on the back of my book, one of the reviews from the Daily Telegraph says 'The ideal summer read; escapist, funny and clever'!

I also heard this idea being proposed by Lionel Shriver, that we need books to engage rather than creating an escape. But by engaging, does that mean we are only allowed to read books about the current time, in our current location, if it does it is quite restrictive. What if I read a story about life in a Yugoslav army camp before the Serbian wars - is that escapist or engaging, what about a story about russia in the 1900s featuring a side story about time travel? Perhaps as long as the story is written recently.

I don't know but it there does seem to be a trend towards 'engaging' writing at the moment.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Appearance of truth

This is a short excerpt from 'Ring around the moon', a play by Jean Anouilh. I love this short conversation, it is relevant today even more:

ROMAINVILLE: For God's sake, she isn't my mistress! I assure you she isn't, not the least bit.
HUGO: Who's going to believe you?
ROMAINVILLE: Everybody - because it's true.
HUGO: That's no help. It doesn't seem likely.
ROMAINVILLE: So according to you the truth means nothing.
HUGO: Nothing, dear boy, if no one believes it.

It could be said today but even more, Philip Marlowe could have said it and it would have made perfect sense. The authorities in Japan know this (but probably regret not learning more about it) and I think a lot of people are still trying to learn what this really means.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Celebrate International Women's Day 2011 with three women poets

Sorry about the poor quality of these documents, contact me if you need a better copy:

Carole Satyamurti

Amanda Dalton

Polly Clark

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Anxiety of death

In 1952 Tillich wrote the following:

"It has been observed that anxiety of death increases with the increase of individualization and that people in collectivistic cultures are less open to this type of anxiety."

Makes me wonder the levels of fear in society at the moment.