mercredi 29 février 2012

admiring silence

Just whizzed through Admiring Silence by Abdulrazak Gurnah; a study of identity, belonging and home. The story of a man's escape and subsequent return, many years later, to his native Zanzibar. These are themes which are close to my heart. Good writing about home can be found in the books of Nancy Huston and Milan Kundera, particularly the book Ignorance. Ignorance, another story of a bitter home-coming, echoes the themes in Admiring Silence, how we create our identities culturally, the honey trap of nostalgia, the impossibility of belonging once you have left. Admiring Silence is particularly brilliant in it's satirical insights into our many-layered post-colonial cultures. 'The ruins are one of the many things which make England a nation, along with a certain over-confident, hedonist cynicism which passes for sophistication and street-wisdom. Because the England of those ruins does not exist anymore'.

mardi 21 février 2012

A Writer's Diary

I've just finished ploughing through the blustery pages of Woolf's A Writer's Diary. It feels like she lived such a cyclical existence, falling from one book to another; first draft, second draft, layout, publication, she waited for the fallout and then started again. I never realised how prolific she was, how much fiction and how much literary criticism she wrote. I love the entries where she describes forming a book in her mind, as without word-processing the action of moving from thought to page is radically transformed; the novel much imagined before words hit paper. There is so many things to say about this book: it informs us technically about the different stages of her writing process, illustrates how she reads - the classics, falling like rain- how she lives, moving from country to town and the book also contains jewelled morcels of descriptive prose that could be framed and hung upon the wall.