April 30 Update

A Greek Matinee is so close to finishing

I love the smell of books, the feel of them in my hands. I can turn pages back to a great turn of phrase or idea I marked with a satin ribbon.

Ψ 2022 April 30 Tattlings Update

Dear visitors and followers,

This last month I’ve been busy tweaking my synopsis and several chapters of my manuscript. Also I’ve been rearranging my writing room, that is, my Scribbly Den ready for moving back in for winter writing.

Something kept tapping in my head which set me to give my full manuscript to Carole, my beta-reader of earlier “first 50 pages”. At first Carole said she didn’t really like the main character because of her annoyance when two old friends show up. Reading on however, yesterday Carol reported of understanding the character’s annoyance. Over late-lunch, coffee, Chardonnay and Tatachilla Pinot Grigio we talked for many hours about books, people and my manuscript.

I’m so pleased with Carole’s comment and thought: that’s pretty cool for a reader to change her mind about the main character.

Word Count: 113,278

Other efforts this month have been focused on learning the ropes of Twitter. Yes I’ve done it. I’ve started to tweet. It’s set up of course regarding A Greek Matinée – the tag is @agreekmatinee

Within a month I scored 152 followers. Not 15k? you quiver with laughter. That’s right. I don’t bulk Follow. I first look at the profile of a would-be Follower and some of their posts before deciding whether to Follow. Do I hear a wee voice saying, She’s selective…? May be so.

I’m tickled that so many people have shown interest by Likes and Following. Thank you all, and thankyou to my loyal Followers here on my webpage.

Tweeting, Twittering and checking out stuff has been an interesting exercise. I’ve learnt curious things about quite a variety of things and seen some wonderful photographs, read lengthy articles and participated in small conversations. I’ve also had to block one person. Parents take note. Please be aware what your children may be exposed to.

Overall Tweeting can be helpful for a writer from tips for beginners through to moral support and insight into the publishing industry. And it gets your name “out there”, an important aspect for a writer.

Books I’ve bought this month:

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Panthers and the Museum of Fire by Jen Craig
Flâneuse by Lauren Elkin
Grey Bees by Andrey Kurov
Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky translated from Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

(The last three came to my attention only through Twitter.)

Although I’ve had very little time to spare this month, unable to resist, I started reading Grey Bees by Ukraine Andrey Kurkov (first published 2018 in Russian; English 2021 with Foreword 2020). Could have been 2022. Today. The cover says “surprisingly funny”. I don’t. Yet (I’m 1/2 through). The only two characters left in village are touching.

Because I read the Foreword online before, I skipped it. Chapter 1 I thought, ‘that was mighty quick to get published.’ Datecheck: 2018. Not 2022. Forgot background. As now, Putin causing trauma. Since 2014.

Grey Bees is a wonderful book and reminds me of The Day Lasts More Than A Hundred Years By Kyrgyz author Chinghiz Aitmatov.

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Oh, dear, earlier this April thoughts kept gnashing in my head, my pencil mark-making on paper. My feathers were ruffled. I thought: I’ve gotta stop this. It’s not the time to start my next manuscript. A Greek Matinée must be my focus. What say thee?

Jump to Manuscript Tattlings Menu:
∴ PI  Restart
∴ PII  The Romance
PIII  Manuscript Progress Tattlings 
∴  PIV  A Writer’s Prescription 
PV  Surprise Discovery  
∴ PVI  Clicks 

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The Manuscript Tattlings : A Writer’s Prescription & Surprise Discovery

A Greek Matinée on the brink! Literary Fiction. As wind whips in through my open door I must discipline not to touch Dostoevsky nor Péter Esterházy until… but how can I resist!

I love the smell of books, the feel of them in my hands. I can turn pages back to a great turn of phrase or idea I marked with a satin ribbon.

Tattlings Menu:
∴  The Romance  ∴   Manuscript Progress Tattlings  

A Writer’s Prescription
  Surprise Discovery  ∴  Clicks 
 
∴  A Writer’s Prescription: 
 

♦  Words Carefully Chosen 

  marvel at♦  Sentences  ♦   Images  ♦  Considerations ♦  Insight ♦ 

  ♦  Examine each movement, action, trait  What motivation behind each character? What drives them?  Linking past, present, future ♦  Foreboding  ♦  Tension ♦  Intensity, insight, expression (Pear M22 III) ♦  Beauty ♦ 

  ♥   Each ChapterFind Beating Heart  ♥

 

Surprise Discovery:

Click here to see the Fossils mentioned in A Greek Matinée. How surprised I was to discover after I’d written them in, here they were on display. Thank you Scott. What were they? Frog? Crocodile? Some other reptilian? Something else?

20200124 Fossil cores Plant Snail Fish Croc-vert 400 mauve 3

 

 

 

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Manuscript Tattlings : Progress

A Greek Matinée on the brink! Literary Fiction. As wind whips in through my open door I must discipline not to touch Dostoevsky nor Péter Esterházy until… but how can I resist!

I love the smell of books, the feel of them in my hands. I can turn pages back to a great turn of phrase or idea I marked with a satin ribbon.

Tattlings Menu:
∴ PI  Restart
∴ PII  The Romance
PIII  Manuscript Progress Tattlings 
∴  PIV  A Writer’s Prescription 
PV  Surprise Discovery  
∴ PVI  Clicks 

Progress Tattlings – Backwards Order ∴ (2019 to date)

Oh, how many times have I been finished A Greek MatinéeHow many drafts has my little printer trembled with? I like to sit with a cup of tea, pencil in hand as I review each page. Full clean copies? Probably this is my eighth, no, more I’m sure, with numerous freshened page-drops between. But I really am finished. Really! Or am I? What will Carole unearth?

Ψ  Tattlings AFTER midnight 2022 April 04 – jumps :

Ψ 2022 April 30

Ψ Tattlings  BEFORE midnight 2022 April 04 through from 2019:

Ψ 2022 April 04  Ah! some time ago Carole read the first 50 pages of A Greek Matinée. Now, magnificently, she is reading the whole manuscript. I value her comments for she is truly an avid reader of books, member of a book club and impresses me with her insight. Thank you sooo much Carole, I’m indebted to you. As a reader, she challenges me with questions.

PS   Wordcount is 113,280. Maybe Carole will see where I can nibble out a few more words!


Ψ
22 March 30
  As I said above, it’s settledA Greek Matinée is Literary Fiction.

Ψ 2022 March 28 At each check for current definition of Contemporary Fiction,  Literary Fiction and Genre, I found subtle changes. And changes country-to-country. Initially I thought my ms Contemporary Fiction. But I was mistaken according to some definitions. The story is not set WorldWarII-ish.  A Greek Matinée is set 2016 contemporaneous with Greece’s economic difficulties, aftermath of the failed military-coup in Turkey, war in Syria and arrest of xxxxx xxxx xxxxx – no, I won’t give you a spoiler!

*But imagine my astonishment when this happened while I was on Greek soil! – I’d already plotted this into the story months and months before! Nor is A Greek Matinée popcorn. And it’s not formulaic. Characters drive the story… And now I twitter.

Ψ 2022 March  Ah-ha 😊  wonderfully, I  have gained another beta-reader, a critical reader. Her first question was, ‘What genre?’ Second question, ‘Who is your target audience?’

Ψ 2022 February 01   Today my manuscript stands at 113,320 words (31 chapters in 355 pp double-spaced of course). The last page has 2 lines only.

Ψ 2021 November 21  Into my stable I’ve wonderfully gained another Beta-Reader, a get-up-and-go lady who surprised me with her proclamation that she’s an avid reader, is caught up by my brief, wants to read on. Oh, Happy Day! And her friend who overheard our talk, volunteered also, another avid reader with keen interest in history. Thank you so much 🙂

Ψ 2021 November 01  I’ve become fanatical. And I’ve moved rooms to where I can recline on the daybed with one hand on the manuscript, the other hovering by keys, a pencil or grabbing fresh-brewed tea steaming by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Demons. The computer’s now on a wooden-seated high-stool next to me whose legs stretch out on a Tibetan blanket-cum-poncho draped over the camel-patterned mattress cover of the daybed. My eyes scan for a better turn of phrase, Subjectivity, or something that could well be deleted. Yes, I went back to earlier chapters although two weeks ago I mentioned I had but three chapters to go to the end of this round of fine-toothcombing. I’ve caught up. Now I have two to go!

A change of room has proved a good idea. The front door is open allowing wind to whip in. I must discipline not to touch Dostoevsky until done, nor Péter  Esterházy. But I will go out with a friend for coffee on Friday to discuss books!

Q: Do I or don’t I include the Appendices originally determined worth their salt?

Ψ 2020 February 01 Manuscript Margins for A Greek Matinée are now set at 30mm. Hummm, that shoots up the pages – just as the Appendices shot up the overall wordcount! I play with words in my old version of Word because Word ’97 is logically organised unlike Word 10 which I find a beast to use and seems untameable. When I need to put the manuscript into a pdf format (for a Pre-sub Reader) I copy the document onto a flash drive, take it away from my isolated laptop (best firewall – Old Faithful never goes on the internet) and plug it into the modern machine to suck the file into that hideous-but-sometimes-very-useful-program which can save it to a mod pdf file. Of course I then have to scan the flash-drive to ensure no virus has infected the carrier pigeon!


Ψ 2020 late January A surprise discovery at “The Museum” after checking out Spiders – The Exhibition! Click Fossils to see what these are – already an element in A Greek Matinée (even before I went to Greece to feed this tale).

Ψ 2020 Am I truly ready to float my baby? Carmel magnificently completed her reading, made good suggestions and challenged the grammar of some of my “sub” clauses!

Ψ 2019 is closing fast! But hey! Carmel is now reading my manuscript.  A great surprise when she asked me if I’d like her to do so. Thanks a mill Carmel! I’m so pleased I joined the Ancient Civilisations classes with you and Yuri our good leaders! Throughly enjoyed being enlightened about Egypt then passing through Greece and now, Rome. How time flies when we’re doing what we enjoy … delving deeper with our curiosity and insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Ψ And now it’s 2019. A mighty thank  you to Robin who for the second time has read hardcopy of the full manuscript and discussed it variously over coffee. THANK YOU so much Robin for that and particularly asking me this year if I’d like you to read it again (that second time). I still tremble at having made a few spelling errors and a convoluted sentence or two = thanks so much for picking them up!

And thanks to Julia, my ALPHA-READER, for your full reading and comments (happy fishing!). And Nicole, Deanne, Irene and Sally for your various readings of bundles along the way. All so encouraging. I’m indebted to you.

Last year:
And now, A Greek Matinee revisited this April is posted (hummm, flipped, emailed, sent) to friends. What will they say? What will they think of it?

Of course I think it’s a good read and very much would have liked this work of fiction to companion me as I travelled in Greece nineteen months’ ago. Eccentric, yes. Challenges thinking? Yes. And with undercurrents of something sinister afoot, it is loaded with mythology that swings travelling-characters into edgy exchanges, psychological shifts and singular events some, flirting danger.

 

Lela seemed paranoiac, as if a Party-State black Volga would edge down the street, pull-in close, from its curtained interior a chill-complexioned thug make for…

 

∴   The Romance  ∴   Manuscript Progress Tattlings   ∴   A Writers Prescription  ∴  Surprise Discovery  ∴  Clicks  ∴

.


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Early April Tattlings

How many full drafts of your manuscript did you print? How many Beta-Readers did you have? Did you think you were finished your story before handing over your ms?

∴  Oh, how many times have I been finished A Greek MatinéeHow many drafts has my little printer trembled with? I like to sit with a cup of tea, pencil in hand as I review each page. Full clean copies? Probably this is my eighth, no, more I am sure, with numerous freshened page-drops between. But I really am finished. Really! Or am I? What will Carole unearth?

Ψ 2022 April 04  Ah! some time ago Carole read the first 50 pages of A Greek Matinée. Now, magnificently, she is reading the whole manuscript. I value her comments for she is truly an avid reader of books, member of a book club and impresses me with her insight. Thank you sooo much Carole, I’m indebted to you. As a reader, she challenges me with questions.

PS Wordcount is 113,280. Maybe Carole will see where I can nibble out a few more words!

Ψ 22 March 30  It’s settledA Greek Matinée is Literary Fiction.

Jump to main The Manuscript Tattlings

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Tattling A Greek Matinee March

Fiction

Ψ 2022 March 28 At each check for current definition of Contemporary Fiction Literary Fiction Genre I find they subtlety change. And change country-to-country. I thought my ms Contemporary Fiction but I may be mistaken. The story is not set WorldWarII-ish. It’s set 2016. A Greek Matinée is contemporaneous with Greece’s 2016 economic difficulties, aftermath of the failed military-coup in Turkey, war in Syria and arrest of xxxxx xxxx xxxxx – no, I won’t give you a spoiler!

*But imagine my astonishment when this happened while I was on Greek soil! – I’d already plotted this into the story months and months before!

Nor is A Greek Matinée popcorn. And it’s not formulaic. Characters drive the story… And now I twitter.

And I’m holed-up trying to whittle 113,310 words to 110,000

Jump to main Manuscript Tattlings where you’ll find random Tattlings, The Romance, A Writer’s Prescription and A Surprise Discovery

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papilio aegeus

The butterfly in Wind, Dreams & Butterflies is a female Orchard Butterfly papilio aegeus.

My book “The Butterflies of Australia” by Albert Orr and Roger Kitching, says females are bigger than males and forewing length measured from centre of the wing base to the apex is 62mm.

The native habitat is principally wet open forest of tropical North Queensland but this colourful butterfly has invaded orchards and gardens right along the East Coast of Australia. The female has erratic jinking flight.

My lady would have been more interested in my Murraya tree than me for her larvae like to eat it’s leaves.

I bow to her for she danced round my head before seeking out a choice place to leave her eggs.

And here for you is an extract from a letter in Russian by Vladimir Nabokov, 1924:

All day long I wandered above the hills, searching out wonderful paths, bowing warmly to familiar butterflies.

Wind, Dreams & Butterflies

Oh, my mind, my mind, takes me on adventures I want to share with you. Tales entwined with now & yesterday

 

p 78 1 Butterfly in Murraya

Joyous day! A visitor flew in and saw me,
Flew round my head, sought out my murraya tree;
Brave butterfly, delicate of wing, dancing with the wind,
Teased by the tail of another cyclone while
Hidden in my jungle fat green frogs croaked.

 

p 78 2 Wind and Dreams 500

Wind & Dreams

How lovely to sit with a cuppa on my day-bed, cool, after so many disgustingly hot humid days, watch the wind play in the garden, flap blinds. It’s like watching the ocean.

Memories swim with the sounds of the blinds thumping, snapping this way, that; sounds my sail made as I turned a wild gybe, tacked this way and that careering through boisterous weekends with children and friends.

Oh, how lovely the wind. Unbelievably yesterday I put on a pullover. I’d not worn one for years at this time of year but the drop to 25° is quite chilly for me.

I sit by my window and dream of places and people I once knew. And others soon I hope to see in far-off places across the sea.

Oh, my mind, my mind, takes me on adventures I want to share with you. Tales entwined with now and yesterday. My bag is nearly packed. What about yours?

 

Did you like my funny little proses? How did they make you feel?

addendum: jump to identity of my visitor papilio aegeus

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Chili, Grape, Hazelnut Porridge

A recipe from Elizabeth. Quick and easy breakfast hot or cold.

Here’s a quickie breakfast with a kick to start your day:

Empty 2 packets of Rolled Oats “Roasted Hazelnut & Cinnamon” into a microwaveable bowl.

— you can easily prepare your own with traditional rolled oats. I find the packeted stuff too fine. Cooking will take a little longer —

  • Add milk as directed on the packet – I put 50/50 water and milk.
  • Wash, gut and finely chop up chili,
  • Wash large seedless black grapes – I use Midnight Beauty,
  • Add chili and grapes to the porridge bowl.
  • Stir. Cover loosely with baking paper.
  • Microwave for approximately 90 seconds *Follow instructions on the Rolled Oats packet.

This breakfast can be cooked or enjoyed raw.

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Parsnip, Blueberries & Salmon

A recipe from Elizabeth

I love parsnips what about you?

For this recipe you will need a parsnip per person, some sliced Chinese cabbage, chopped broccolini, finely-minced hot chillies, fresh salmon, grapeseed oil, balsamic vinegar, slices of purple onion, a slice of lemon for each piece of fish and sprigs of parsley.

Wash all vegetables and fruit.

Peel the parsnip. Cut into slices about a quarter of an inch thick. At the big end of the parsnip I split that down the centre before slicing.

In a heavy based frying pan (mine is cast iron) gently heat the grapeseed oil.

**Be wary: I found grapeseed oil spits so, often I put a lid on the frying pan to calm it. And due to perceived health benefits I cook at medium heat.

To the heated oil add the parsnip stirring regularly to cook evenly.

When nearly cooked make space to add the *salmon.

*If you like your salmon fast-cooked at a higher heat, cook it separately.

When the parsnip is cooked spoon it into a vegetable or eating bowl.

To the frying pan alongside the salmon add the blueberries simply to heat, not cook. Spoon them over the parsnip.

Turn over the salmon. Take care not to overcook it. When done, put on a plate for it to rest.

Stir-fry the Chinese cabbage in the same pan. When nearly cooked add half of the finely minced chillies. When done spoon over the berries.

To the same frying pan add the brocollini and remainder of minced chillies.

When cooked add them to the vegetable bowl. Give them a good stir and put the salmon on top.

Decorate with the onion slices, a twist of lemon and sprig of parsley.

Drozzle balsamic vinegar over the lot to taste.

Enjoy.

** Grapeseed Oil vs Olive Oil: Nutrients, Benefits, Downsides

I’d  checked out this site www . healthline.  com   (close gaps when you type that into your browser, doing your own “safety checks”)  to decide this oil or that oil. Both apparently have great health benefits. And of course downsides. You have to make your own balanced decision, eh?!

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Heavy Reading & Marshmallow

The Devil has all the best tricks

Today I was told I do some heavy reading. That made me pause. I suppose I do. Well, just look at the stuff in previous posts. But also I do marshmallow, as my daughter calls it and heaps between.

books heavy 400

This slither represents some of my books in the dining room. In the lounge and my “library” many, many more march on long shelves while others sprout up in stacks here and there.

Some of my favourite reads are Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing which made me cry, The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years by Chingiz Aitmatov, of course Ioana Pârvulescu‘s Life Begins on Friday, Ovid’s Tristia and Ex Ponto… Oh gosh, I could go on. But, if I were relegated to a deserted island, these four books I would smuggle with me. I wonder if I could also slip in Péter Esterházy‘s books and Fyodor Dostoevsky‘s? I’d need several trunks me thinks.

Ahead of me I have heaps of reading recommended by several people who have kindly left comments (Thank You again) and from my own list. At present it’s a battle with reading, writing and pulling out weeds from my garden as heat and humidity make them think they should turn my yard into an impregnable jungle! The sea is too rough to even walk along the beach today.

Did I mention before Jack Faust (The Devil has all the best tricks…) by Michael Swanwick. As William Gibson says it’s “Madly ambitious and brilliantly executed, recasting the entire history of science in a wholly original version of our culture’s central myth of knowledge, power, and sorrow.”

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SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard (2015) – 2

This article by Simon of Books & Boots made me sit up. Some time ago, despite my deep interest in ancient history, I’d stopped watching documentaries presented by MB. Oddly, they’d left me somewhat irritated. Now I see that may well be due to points Simon has raised. Have you read or watched her work? What are your thoughts on this? Of course though, watching her programmes can provoke people to look more deeply into the subjects presented. And that’s a good thing.

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Books & Boots

As I explained in my review of the introduction to SPQR, Beard is not very scholarly or intellectual. By not very scholarly I mean she sometimes mentions the scholarly debate over various issues but doesn’t take us into any detail (unlike Richard Miles in his history of Carthage who can’t come across a scholarly crux without explaining it at length, accompanied by copious, and often very interesting, footnotes and extensive references).

By not very intellectual I mean her book has few if any ideas, and no conceptual framework of analysis. She is addicted to asking lots of rhetorical questions, but that doesn’t make her an intellectual, it makes her a standard teacher using a standard teaching technique.

How far is it useful to see Roman history in terms of imperial biographies or to divide the story of empire into emperor-sized (or dynasty-sized) chunks? How accurate are the standard images…

View original post 4,799 more words

Site Updates 2022

Direct link to New Stuff or Update of earlier Posts and Pages. Hope you like ’em.

Ah! The Year of the Tiger! I feel I should be promoting a different manuscript but there it is, A Greek Matinée whistling in the wings.

21a-1234-b1-c1-e1-f1-d3-9bks

Dear Visitors, this page gives you links to latest posts and alterations on my site. I’d be delighted if you would leave a Comment and/or Like on pages you visit 🙂 Easy-peasy! The menu above leads to all sorts of things. I’m interested too, what you think of my encounter with Lela. Thank you.

Here’s an easy link to become a valued >Follower

2022 April 30 April 30 Tattling Update (New) with Tweeter

2022 April 09 Early April Tattlings (New)

2022 April 01 It’s settled! A Greek Matinée is Literary Fiction.

2022 March 29 Tattling A Greek Matinee (New) Manuscript Tattlings (Update)

2022 February 20 papilio aegeus (New) My butterfly is now identified.

2022 February 15 Wind, Dreams & Butterflies (New) and another recipe for you to try: Chili, Grape, Hazelnut Porridge (New)

2022 February 06 The Journey Begins (Update)

2022 February 05 Parsnip, Blueberries & Salmon (New) A recipe for you.

2022 February 04 Heavy Reading & Marshmallow (New)

2022 February 02 Simon’s Books & Boots article on Mary Beard’s A History of Ancient Rome (New)

2022 February 01 Manuscript Reader Comments (Update)

2022 January 27 Manuscript Reader Comments (Update)

2022 January Genre (Update)

Below are a few links from the end of last year’s page.

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Ioana Pârvulescu

Romanian writer Ioana Pârvulescu, Life Begins on Friday, The Future Begins on Monday

♦ Two of this author’s many works:

 

Oh gosh, Viitorul începe luni (The Future Begins on Monday) by Ioana Pârvulescu (Romanian) is not in English so I’m trying to translate bit-by-bit. I’d bought a copy which was shipped from England as no copies were way down here. Having read Ioana Pârvulescu’s Life Begins on Friday, I know it’ll be most enjoyable. It’s been fun meeting up again with some of the same characters from the newspaper and police in old Bucharest. This reading-translating project may even sharpen my wits!

Life Begins on Friday swept me into a world I may find traces of when eventually I get to Bucharest. My trip’s been put on hold twice due to the pandemic still gripping the world.

The plot takes place during the last 13 days of 1897 but Dan Creţu, alias Dan Kretzu, is a present-day journalist who is hurled back in time by a “mysterious process for just long enough to allow us a wonderful glimpse into a remote, almost forgotten world”

Life Begins on Friday is beautifully written and won for Ioana Pârvulescu the EUROPEAN UNION PRIZE FOR LITERATURE. Life Begins on Friday was translated into English by Alistair Ian Blyth 2016 and was longlisted 2017 for the WARWICK PRIZE FOR WOMEN IN TRANSLATION

Life Begins on Friday a beautiful read. Happily I lent my copy to a friend but, boo-h00, she’s not returned it to me far more than a year later! – says she’s not read it and can’t find it. It’s the fourth precious book treated thus.

.

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Xenophon & Romania

Non-fiction and fiction

The Persian Expedition

Xenophon

Translated by Rex Warner

Very interesting historic event. I felt I was with the soldiers on this great expedition across plains and through mountains, experiencing the political manoeuvres and negotiating through enemy territory.

Romania

Along the Enchanted Way

William Blacker

Truly enchanting. William Blacker lived many years alongside country people in mountainous northern Romania, the almost mediaeval Maramureş.

bury me standing

The Gypsies and Their Journey

Isobel Fonseca

A great learning and understanding about Gypsies. Fonseca’s book may change a reader’s attitude. I knew so little, particularly of Gypsies in the European Eastern bloc.

Salman Rushdie endorses bury me standing “A hidden world – at once ignored and secretive, persecuted and unknown – is hidden in these pages… A magnificent achievement.”

Jan Morris, Sunday Times says “A grand panorama of European gypsydom, its history, its present condition and future prospects.”

The next three are enlightening works. Glad I found them prior to my trip to Romania. 

  • A History of the Romanians by Georges Castellan
  • Romania The Great Union by Ioan Scurtu, Nicolae Sarambei and Corneliu Rades
  • Rumania by Romulus Seişanu – a lot to absorb

The more I read about Romania the better equipped I’ll surely be to appreciate not only the natural beauty but perhaps the people and their doings. I’m looking forward too of browsing the magical Bookshop in Bucharest: Cărturești Carusel — “The prettiest bookshop in Romania”   — a restored 19th Century building confiscated during the Communist Period but in 1990 returned to the Chrissoveloni family who were in  possession of it in 1903. The bookshop spreads over six levels totaling 1000sqm. It is open 1000-2200 – great idea the late closing hour for booklovers!

Kyra Kyralina

Panaït Istrati

Translated by Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno

 A good read by a born story-teller, “a teller of Oriental tales”. Romain Rolland says in the preface to this charming little book (138 pages) that in a letter arrived from a hospital in Nice, his (Panaït Istrati’s) genius for storytelling is so irresistible that even before his suicide attempt, twice he interrupted his desperate account to narrate two humorous stories from his past life.

Panaït Istrati (1884-1935) was born in Romania six years after Romania separated from the Ottoman Empire. Later this son of a Greek smuggler lived in Constantinople which played a central role in Kyra Kyralina. First published 1923 in French, Kyra Kyralina established Panaït Istrati as a leading Modernist writer.

p.69 “The Danube attracted me like an irresistible force. I was eleven-years-old but had never known the pleasure of gliding along the river on one of the boats on which the rowers languorously sang as they made their way downstream.”

p.126 “What is charming, picturesque or interesting about the tumultuous life and adventures of a man with a fierce soul is not always found in the more prominent facts of his life.”

 Each of the three “Books” of Kyra Kyralina is a short story as if memories from childhood (or a young man as Adrien Zograffi is in Book I) on the banks of the Danube to old age on different shores, amidst oppression and extraordinary living difficulties. Istrati left home as a 12 year-old and wandered for 20 years through Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, the East, Greece, Italy often penniless. For a while he was mixed up in revolutionary movements. But for Panaït Istrati friendship was a sacred passion. His insights into the human condition are profound. His writings take the reader into lives as if some other Thousand and One Nights. 

 

Jump to Award-Winning Ioana Pârvulescu

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Tony Park Stella Rimington

Captive

Tony Park

Interesting to read of the poaching of rhino horn in Africa, complexities faced by rangers in their war with the ruthless poachers and of allied well-meaning wild-life charities.

The Geneva Trap

Stella Rimington

What a woman! Joined MI5 in 1968 working in counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism then in 1992 was appointed Director General: I’ve just finished reading this cracking thriller (2020 February) . I recommend it if you’re into spy thrillers.

 

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