Friday, May 14, 2021

Timely Fashion: Writing, It Turns Out, Can Be Rather Difficult

 Almanac: Cesare Pavese on sin

“If it were possible to have a life absolutely free from every feeling of sin, what a terrifying vacuum it would be!” Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living Continue reading Almanac: Cesare Pavese...Read more



How many crimes have been committed before “The Dry” begins? One barbarous act we know about for sure: a man named Luke Hadler (Martin Dingle Wall) has been found dead, with a shotgun beside him, outside the town of Kiewarra. (It’s a fictional place, but the movie, adapted from the novel of the same name by Jane Harper, and directed by Robert Connolly, was filmed in the Australian state of Victoria.) Back at Luke’s house are the bodies of his wife and son, and it is presumed—for want of a better theory—that he killed them before taking his own life, though he left no note. The only blessing is that his baby daughter was spared. If she were old enough to give evidence, what would she say?


Good conversation requires a slow, relaxed pace and a pressure-free atmosphere free of distractions. Slow Italian pizza places tend be great for this purpose. Fast food places so much.



As Terry Durack noted the service is reactive: “ Be warned, the drinks service is slow, and floor staff are run off their feet. Like taxis, they require hailing if you want to get anywhere. The manager who has been at RA for over 5 years has a bad temper and strange attitude to service... even though friends were joining us as they were not with us he would only give us a table for two not four ... Sicilians are usually born with common sense  



Chinese Realities – Past and Present

The year was 1962. As Canberra’s first trainee in Chinese I had been placed on the Department of External Affairs China desk and told to monitor rising tension along the Sino-Indian Himalayan frontier. Beijing was complaining about repeated Indian frontier violations and warning there would be consequences if India went too far.... 



Articles of Note

Larry McMurtry wrote 50 books. Not all were good. Some were masterpieces. For a great writer, the successes depend on the failures   ... more »


Writing, It Turns Out, Can Be Rather Difficult

Masterful essay writer Elissa Mashuta: “This is the dilemma at the heart of the process: writing would be easier if I had an assured end point to aim for, but the essay only works if I begin without knowing what I’ll find as I advance through the paragraphs. I want to control everything, but the essay won’t let me.” – LitHub


The Birth Of Newsletters, 600 Years Before Substack

“Newsletters began in mid-fifteenth-century Venice. Subscribers would receive handwritten letters twice a week rounding up interesting events. Sixteenth-century merchants used similar news sources to keep track of exchange rates, taxes, and other business news. The form’s popularity expanded in England after the country’s first postal service took off around 1660. This opened the door to news writers, who could use the mail to gather information from distant correspondents and then send the information to readers on a predictable schedule.” – JSTOR Daily


Emma Donoghue ‘Toned Down The Horror’ In Room at Norman Park

Those who read the book or saw the movie may not quite believe it, but the real-life case from which the author drew her inspiration was far worse. Then there were her own kids. “I had three and a half years’ worth of things to say. About what a huge gap separates an adult and a small child, with only curiosity, humour and love to bridge it. About how a mother is her baby’s captor and prisoner, sometimes both at the same time. About how you long to give your growing kid freedom while somehow, impossibly, keeping them perfectly safe.” – The Guardian (UK)


       EBRD Literature Prize shortlist 

       They've announced the three-title shortlist for this year's EBRD Literature Prize -- a €20,000 prize divided between the winning author and translator, for the: "best work of literary fiction translated into English, originally written in any language of the EBRD's nearly 40 countries of operations and published by a UK publisher":

  • The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch, tr. Sean Gasper Bye
  • Mr K Released by Matéi Visniec, tr. Jozefina Komporaly
  • The Pear Field by Nina Ektimishvili, tr. Elizabeth Heighway

       I haven't seen any of these, but am particularly curious about the Visniec; see also the Seagull Books publicity page

       (Updated - 5 May): See now also the official press release; the winner will be announced on 1 June.