"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
Posts tagged "Scribe"
A biblical paradise

A biblical paradise

An impish dog playing tricks on his mistress brings about a meeting that will change the life of a monarch. Or so goes the story in Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader, where a corgi-chasing Elizabeth II runs into a travelling library. The rest is a journey into a world of enchantment, discipline, determination, revelation. What...
Curious about curiosity

Curious about curiosity

Adventurous forgetting is common with scholars. The urge to move beyond the page estranges us from the work. We chase the next illuminating ‘maybe’, losing sight of the words we began with. The problem is not iconoclastic interpretation; not disorienting or disturbing responses – this is all the stuff of creative reading. “There is a...
A dream of good fortune

A dream of good fortune

“When he’d heard the name ‘Flower Island’, he thought they were going to some paradise overlooking the ocean” – with not much more than these words, a thirteen-year old and his mother must choose between a life of increasing impoverishment and a promised alternative of redeeming ‘enoughness’. The choice seems obvious, and in Familiar Things...
Filthy treasures at Flower Island

Filthy treasures at Flower Island

Bugeye heard indistinct chatter around him in his sleep, but decided to stay curled up and ignore it. “Wake up, honey,” his mother said, pulling the blanket off him. “It’s time to go to work.” She shook Bugeye, who managed to sit up but still had his eyes closed, and then stood him up by...
First night

First night

We’re hiding in the powder room at the St Regis hotel. This is what working in what amounts to a rat’s nest for the past decade has done to us, I think, looking at our reflections in the mirror. Ten years in a piece-of-crap studio in the armpit of Bushwick with full view-and-sound of the...
Wraiths of neither good nor evil

Wraiths of neither good nor evil

With the hindsight of history, with the raw, stinging feeling on the skin of one’s conscience of the viciousness and harrowing desolation that was spawned by Nazi rule and WWII, it may seem that there was for Germany a distinct separation between a brutal, all-obliterating moment of total guilt and a redeeming ‘moment after’ of...
Berlin by twilight

Berlin by twilight

“Who in all the world goes to Berlin voluntarily?” wrote Joseph Roth in The Wandering Jews in 1926–27. For him, as for so many others who were acutely attuned to the particular dissonances of a global order in turmoil, Berlin represented the metaphorical and real space of a harrowing existential predicament: the new paradigm for...
Cristina Sánchez-Andrade: Flickers

Cristina Sánchez-Andrade: Flickers

The Winterlings is the first of Spanish author Cristina Sánchez-Andrade’s novels to be published in the UK, and it makes for an intoxicating introduction to her work. It’s a tale of two sisters hiding a dark secret, and magic and enchantment in all forms, from village superstitions to the glamour of the movies. Set chiefly...
A home unknown

A home unknown

I write with my hands tied. Here in the stationary solidity of my room, which I haven’t left for the longest time. I write without being able to write, and I write for this. At any rate, I wouldn’t know what to do with this body that has been unable to move ever since it...
Mrs Engels and me

Mrs Engels and me

Before writing my first novel, I had some very clear ideas about the kind of book it wasn’t going to be. It wasn’t going to be a) extensively researched (because ‘research destroys art’), b) set in the distant past (because ‘now’ is what’s interesting), or c) about The Woman Behind The Man (because that’s beyond...