"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
Posts tagged "South Africa"
Disquiet revisited

Disquiet revisited

Fernando Pessoa’s life divides neatly into three periods. In a letter to the British Journal of Astrology dated 8 February 1918, he wrote that there were only two dates he remembered with absolute precision: 13 July 1893, the date of his father’s death from TB when Pessoa was only five; and 30 December 1895, the...
Swarm

Swarm

Caterpillars? Easy, thinks Katya. Even these, thick-clustered, obscuring a tree from bole to crown and shivering their orange hairs. Caterpillars she can deal with. Still, it’s a strange sight, this writhing tree: a tree in mortification. Particularly here, where the perfect lawn slopes down to the grand white house below, between clipped flowerbeds flecked with...
Other Africas

Other Africas

Most first-time visitors’ images of Africa are shaped by the safari experience, which is defined by its artificiality. Camping hundreds of miles from the nearest office block or high street, they learn every detail of an elephant’s sex life but catch only brief glimpses of how the locals live. Western reporters, in contrast, are drawn...
Peter's house

Peter’s house

It is dawn when I wake. I have slept more soundly than I did in the hotel. There is a spider on my leg. I kick it off and wipe my face in case there are more. I feel dirt wiped onto my face, and dampness. I grit my teeth and there is dirt in...
Never forget to remember

Never forget to remember

Roger Cohen’s The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family is a truly haunting, vibrant, unusual and staunchly poignant gentle book. It is in fact not one, but many books: a lingering, evocative memoir, a gripping narrative, a shrewd socioeconomic history of South Africa, Britain, Israel, the US and Eastern Europe,...
A passage to Forster

A passage to Forster

In contrast to his earlier novels, which he produced in a flurry between 1905 and 1910, E.M. Forster took eleven years to write A Passage to India. For nine of those years he was blocked, unable to move forward. He started it after his first visit to India in 1913 and was only able to...
Witching with ink

Witching with ink

With very few exceptions, books about writing are nuts-and-bolts manuals. They should be kept with the recipe books and IKEA furniture assembly instructions. The idea is that if you follow the steps, apply logic and put in the hours, you will construct something as substantial as a house. Do these three things sufficiently well, and...
Deborah Levy finds her voice

Deborah Levy finds her voice

Deborah Levy has been riding a wave since her novel Swimming Home was nominated for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Both the novel and her superlative collection of short stories Black Vodka were published by indie publisher And Other Stories, while bespoke house Notting Hill Editions picked up her essay on writing, memory and childhood...
Frozen Chicken Train Wreck

Frozen Chicken Train Wreck

These posters exist for a day. They are conceived in the newsrooms of Johannesburg’s tabloid dailies – The Star, The Sun, The Times and others – in the late afternoon, as the paper is being put to bed. Just hours later they are visible alongside every major road in the city. These tabloid posters –...