tisdag, april 26, 2005

Ask the Dust av John Fante

Ask the Dust är den andra bok John Fante skrev. Den första var Wait until Spring, Bandini som jag älskade. I Ask the Dust har Arturo Bandini vuxit upp något, flyttat till Los Angeles och försöker vara författare.

I was twenty then. What the hell, I used to say, take your time, Bandini.

Först i min upplaga finns ett ömt Fante-är-nog-gud-förord från Charles Bukowski 1979 som slutar "That's enough. Now this book is yours." Sen börjar boken. Såhär:

One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It was an important night in my life, because I had to make a decision about the hotel. Either I paid up or I got out: that was what the note said, the note the landlady had put under my door. A great problem, deserving acute attention. I solved it by turning out the lights and going to bed.

John Fante
Ask the Dust. 1939. Ecco, 2002: ISBN 0-87685-443-9
Wait until Spring, Bandini. 1938. Ecco 2002. 265 s. ISBN 0-87685-555-9

Embroideries av Marjane Satrapi

Serieboken Embroideries är sex iranska kvinnor som dricker te en eftermiddag hemma hos Marjane Satrapis mormor och pratar om sex, män och kärlek. Det handlar om att bli bortgift med en 69-åring när man är 13 - God, have him croak. God, have him get cancer. God, have him hit by a car. God, have him have a heart attack. God, have him be killed by a robber - , om det smarta med att vara älskarinnan - his teeth sparkle, his breath is like perfume - inte frun - his bad breath, his hemorrhoid attacks, his flues - , om att ha fött fyra barn men aldrig ha sett en penis, om att piffa upp ett äktenskap genom att flytta fläsk från rumpan till tuttarna och annat.

Utdrag ur Embroideries.

Jag har inte läst Persepolis som handlar om Marjane Satrapis uppväxt i Teheran och Persepolis 2 som handlar om när hon från Paris flyttar tillbaka till Iran som vuxen. Men jag tänker göra det.

Marjane Satrapi

Embroideries. Phanteon Books, NY, 2005: ISBN 0-375-42305-2
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood.
Persepolis 2.

A Double Life in Black and White av Patricia Storace. Artikel om Marjane Satrapis serieböcker
Intervju med Marjane Satrapi i Salon:
The fact is, the world is very fearful, because we don't know who the enemy is. The world is at war, but at war against who? Bin Laden turns into Saddam and Saddam turns into someone else. They all the time talk about security. Security, security, security. But when you talk about security, then everything is about being safe. And being safe also means having less freedom.

It makes a society much more conservative, looking for security. If you have freedom, then you have more risks. It goes together. Myself, I prefer to take some risks, and once in a while it's going to hurt. My grandmother always said the saddest life is to be born a cow and to die a donkey.

What does that mean?

That means you are born stupid, and you're going to die even more stupid.

But at no point does Marjane Satrapi feel compelled to spell out why she chose to turn this graphic gossipfest into a graphic novella - or how she wants us to respond to it. It speaks for itself and, to a large degree, to itself, and therein lies its subversive charm. But it is at the same time a daring and brilliantly calculated illumination of a secret space.
Tea and adversity - Maureen Freely lauds Marjane Satrapi's gossipy graphic novel of Iranian history, Embroideries. Recension i Guardian

måndag, april 18, 2005

Seven Types of Ambiguity av Elliot Perlman

På tryckortssidan finns några numrerade ord. Det står:

1. Triangels (Interpersonal relations) - Fiction. 2. Melbourne (Vic.) - Fiction. 3. Married people - Fiction. 4. Psychiatrists - Fiction. 5. Businessmen - Fiction. 6. Kidnapping - Fiction.

På nästa sida står det:

For Debbie

Bläddrar, ett citat:

God has pity on kindergarten children.
He has less pity in school children.
And on grownups he has no pity at all,
he leaves them alone,
and sometimes they must crawl on all fours...

Och så är det igång. Ensamma människor i svinkalla världar som vrålar vrider sig efter kärlek och något verkligt som gör dom synliga och sanna.

1. Triangels (Interpersonal relations) - Fiction.
Det är Simon, sparkad småskolelärare som har ett förhållande med en prostituerad, Angela som älskar honom, men Simon drömmer fortfarande om Anna, som lämnade honom för över tio år sedan. Anna är gift med Joe. Joe ligger med Angela och berättar för henne om sitt äktenskap. Angela berättar för Simon. Simon kidnappar Sam, Annas och Joes son.

2. Melbourne (Vic.) - Fiction.
Någon har kostym och tror sig veta allt efter ett handslag. Någon jobbar inte. En tredje jobbar fast hon inte behöver. En fjärde, femte, sjätte, sjunde gör vad som helst för pengar till en en bil, ett hus. Det är för långt för barnen att kunna promenera till skolan. Folk kommer inte förbi, du känner ingen i din trappuppgång. Mellan jobbet, hemmet, skolan, träningen händer inget.

3. Married people - Fiction.
Ett exempel. Anna berättar för Joe att Sam har fått svårt att koncentrera sig i skolan:

"They even mentioned ADD."
"What's that?"
"Attention deficit disorder."
"Oh, that's bullshit, Anna. He gets plenty of attention. Is this since the... the night he was taken?"
"That's not what ADD means, and anyway, they say it started before that."
We looked at each other guiltily. My eyes grew moist, and I didn't know why. Perhaps it was the way she was speaking to me. She had not spoken to me in that gentle, soothing tone in the longest time. It was how she still sounded when she was alone with Sam. How in God's name was I meant to know how to be married? It had seemed enough once just to know how to choose a wife.

4. Psychiatrists - Fiction.
Alex Klima är Simons psykolog. Angel är den prostituerade som också hon kan berätta om Simons kärlek för poesin, för Empson och hans tro på otydligheterna, the ambiguities, det icke-extrema, det som inte går att katalogisera som kärnan i att vara människa.

Simon has said that the reason his father had no time for poetry is that he is afraid of the messiness of life. Poetry feeds on all that spills over the boundaries of the usual things, the everyday things with which most people are obsessed, so William has no time for it. He cannot think of anything more unneccessary. What about you? What's your excuse?

5. Businessmen - Fiction.
Joe är uppkomling på ett fondbolag. Laffenden har fått sparken.

Joe: Many people here have never liked Laffenden. He's young an loud, he's made a lot of money, and he's told everyone about it. In this he is like a lot of the people in the firm. Many people here have never liked many people here. When, years later, Laffenden remembers all those eyes watching him carry his boxes from his workstation by the window, down the passages formed between the desks, past the photocopy machine and the water cooler, past reception to the elevator; when he remembers certain half-whispered comments from colleagues who he would not have expected to so relish his demise, comments he was only half meant to hear made in the near orgasmic relief that it is Laffenden and not the maker of the comment who is dead, comments made to themselves, rather than to him, which attempted to explain why this was happening to him and not to them - when, years later, Laffenden remembers all this, he probably won't remember that many people here never liked many people here. He won't remember that it was nothing personal.

6. Kidnapping - Fiction.
Sam kanske kidnappade pojken för att han kan förstå hur det var att vara övergiven. Simons föräldrar låtsades, Anna övergav Simon. Nu överger både Anna och Joe Sam genom att låtsas, vara otrogna, strömlinjeformade och borta.

Joe: Anna gets to make toasted sandwiches for him. Cheese and tomato and cheese and ham. She makes soft-boiled eggs for him, four and a half minutes. He can't grow up without knowing that I know that it's four and a half minutes.

Elliot Perlman
Seven Types of Ambiguity. 2003. Riverhead Books, : ISBN 1-57322-281-X

Elliot Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity, which comes to us hailed as "Australia's equivalent of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections," is so bad, so incompetent, and so long, there must be broad historical currents involved. New York magazine

Perlman's novel is a colossal achievement, a complicated, driven, marathon of a book. And fashion is the last thing on his mind in what is, in part, an unworldly elegy for values he misses in the mercenary modern Australia he describes. Not that he is a preacher. He is far too subtle, conflicted and areligious for that. He is also too brilliant a storyteller. His narrative structure is intellectually dashing and reading it is an endlessly pleasurable navigation. Observer

---there's a certain irony in Simon's simultaneous recognition of the ambiguity in poetry - and his non-recognition of the ambiguity in his former relationship with Anna
Elliot Perlman om Seven Types of Ambiguity i en radiointervju (utskriven) i ABC .

Hör Michael Silverblatt lära Elliot Perlman ett och annat.

torsdag, april 14, 2005

Divided Kingdom av Rupert Thomson

För att få grepp om ett land som brakat av rasism och våld låter staten bygga ett nytt system som delar in befolkningen efter personlighetstyper, de fyra temperamenten. United Kingdom blir ett delat kungadöme. Murar byggs, taggtråd rullas ut.

Folk blir det dom förväntas vara. Om inte, så deporteras dom.

I Divided Kingdom blir en pojke bortförd från sin familj en natt under The Rearrangement. Han flyttas till The Red Quarter, kvarten för de kärleksfulla, lyckliga, generösa och optimistiska sangvinikerna.

Pojken växer upp och börjar arbeta för systemet och får då se de andra delarna av landet också.

Kapitel ett av Divided Kingdom.

Jag beställde boken efter att ha läst det här. I briefly considered trying to wrest control of the P.A. system from the flight attendant so I could read to my fellow passengers

Jag var som tejpad mellan pärmarna, fastän i en mardröm. Men jag förstod inte det med småflugorna på slutet.
Rupert Thomson

Divided Kingdom. 2005. Bloomsbury. 416 s. ISBN: 0747572186

Only the other day, for instance, when I was correcting the galley proofs of my new novel, Divided Kingdom, I came across a sentence that stopped me cold. It went like this: Candles burned in windows all year round, memorials to those who had gone but were not dead. Those few words took me back to my first New Year's Eve in West Berlin. I went for a long walk that night. The air was very cold and still, and the streets smelled of the fireworks people had been letting off haphazardly all evening. I came across the wall purely by chance; I just turned a corner, and there it was, smooth, high, pale-grey. It looked, appropriately, like something that had no feeling in it whatsoever. It looked numb. There was a viewing platform nearby. I climbed the steps and stood there, looking past the watch-towers and barbed wire into East Berlin. All the houses that faced the wall had lit candles in their windows. It was something Berliners did every New Year's Eve, I later learned. It was their way of saying that they hadn't forgotten the people on the other side, people who had been taken from them, people who were now living in a different country, under a different ideology, people they might never see again.
Rupert Thomson

Divided Kingdom hemsida

Rupert Thompson carves Britain up into four sections in his dystopian nightmare, Divided Kingdom. Recension i Observer

I felt like Rupert Thomson left me hanging with my palm in the air trying to get the high five. Om Divided Kingdom på Bookdwarf

One of the central dynamics of the book is Thomas's various attempts to work out the difference between what he used to be and what he has become. The trouble is, the previous version of himself only lasted eight or nine years, and never developed into anything concrete or mature. What he is trying to discover is something that is unformed - a potential. On the brink of believability. Rupert Thomson's Divided Kingdom

söndag, april 03, 2005

The Ha-Ha av Dave King

Jag började läsa The Ha-Ha och blev så upplyft av första kapitlet att jag slog ihop boken nöjd efter 7 sidor.

Howard, veteran från Vietnamkriget tar hand om sin tonårs kärlek Sylvias nioårige son när hon ska in på avgiftning. Howard har buckligt huvud. Han kan inte prata, inte skriva. Pojken heter Ryan.

Actually, I'm not a bad choice when it comes to child care, even if no one's asked me before. There's nothing wrong with my intellect or judgment, and my steady gig, maintenance at the convent, makes for a flexible schedule. Living on disability, I'm home a lot, and I run a stable household and keep my nose clean. So I'm a poster boy: a drug-free, contributing member with no record of violent episodes. I'm practically a hero. If I don't utterly love life, so what? I don't know anyone who does. Of course, with my scar, I'm not most kids' preferred associate. I decided years ago I had nothing to hide and threw all my caps away, and as my hair's thinned, the dent in my skull has grown more noticeable. Then there's the language thing, but people learn to deal with that. Anyway, it's my impression that kids like talking but care less about being talked to.

These are my thoughts when the front door opens and Ryan steps onto the stoop: a brown-skinned, lanky guy of about nine, with wide-set hazel eyes, tightly curled hair, and a few dark freckles across his nose. He's wearing a clean white T-shirt with long basketball shorts and big white basketball shoes. I've never known who his father was, but it's not me: his dad wasn't Caucasian. And of course, my time with Sylvia was long, long ago, whereas Ryan was the surprise of Sylvia's mid thirties. I watch him bend to scoop up the gray cat, and I notice that his hair, which was a fluffy halo last I saw him, is cut now in a sharp fade. He's more a black kid than a white. I walk over to pat his head, but he flinches when I raise my hand, so I stroke the cat's chin instead. He doesn't greet me.

En ha-ha är en slänt eller en brant grop, ett sätt att gräva ner en mur för att inte förstöra utsikten över ett landskap.

I The Ha-ha arbetar Howard med att klippa gräs och han älskar att hänga med sin John Deere på branten ner mot motorvägen, svindel, tyngdlös, tidlös och orädd att dö.

Mowing the slope sends a clear wind blowing around in my skull, and as I hover at the edge of imbalance thera are moments when my old eighteen-year-old self i still practically within reach - as though all the years since were no more than a blink.

Ryan flyttar in och byter station på Howards bilradio. Killen behöver frukost, lunchlåda, något att göra på sommarlovet, hindras från att inte dö (ex i hopp med go-cart i ramp), stoppas om. När Sylvia ringer från avgiftningskliniken sticker Ryan fingrarna i öronen och skriker blablablabla.

On the stoop of the house next door, a sandy-haired kid in headphones is reading a comic book. I point a finger at the kid and say, "Cah," by which I mean go on: say hello, and I believe Ryan understands. In a perfect world, he gets what I'm getting at.
But Ryan says, "It's Fartin' Martin, Howie," and his tone's so snotty that I give the seat a smack with my hand. He jumps at the noise, then his mouth sets. "I don't think so."

Howard får annat att tänka på än svindeln på kanten till döden.

Första kapitlet.
Dave King
The Ha-Ha. Little, Brown and Company. New York 2005. ISBN 0-316-15610-8


Istanbul av Orhan Pamuk. Istanbul genom Pamuks ögon under uppväxten på 50-60-talen.

Tidiga sorger av Danilo Kiš. Pojken Andi i Ungern under andra världskriget.

Wait until Spring, Bandini av John Fante. En liten fattig kille i Roklyn, Colorado på 20-talet.

Aké: The Years of the Childhood av Wole Soyinka. Soyinka som fyraåring i Nigeria på 20-talet. Om Soyinka | Recension

The Gorge (novell? Utdrag ur The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana?) av Umberto Eco. En modig pojke i en by i norra Italien under Andra världskriget.

Germs: A Memoir of Childhood av Richard Wollheim. Wollheim om sina neurotiska pojkår i England.

Drown av Junot Díaz. Díaz om sin barndoms barrior i Dominikanska republiken och New Jersey under 70-talet.

Den siste samurajen av Helen Dewitt. Överintelligente pojken Ludo söker en pappa bland hjältar.

lördag, april 02, 2005


Ta bort det där fåniga leendet från ditt fejs. Det går inte Orhan Pamuk kommer ut med en bok om Istanbul.

Conrad, Nabokov, Naipaul - these are writers known for having managed to migrate between languages, cultures, countries, continents, even civilisations. Their imaginations were fed by exile, a nourishment drawn not through roots but through rootlessness; mine, however, requires that I stay in the same city, on the same street, in the same house, gazing at the same view. Istanbul's fate is my fate: I am attached to this city because it has made me who I am.

Utdrag ur Istanbul.
Recension i Guardian idag.
Om Pamuks förra roman Snow

Orhan Pamuk merges the story of his childhood with the story of a city in his dazzling memoir, Istanbul, says Nouritza Matossian.
Recension The Observer.

Om Istanbul här på Böckerna (efter att jag läst den)

fredag, april 01, 2005

Vårsol på Strömmens istäcke

- Kolla!
- Vad skräpigt det är.
- Det är ju fåglar.
- Ja men ändå.