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

67

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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Fyodor Dostoevsky

Lending Library copy to decide whose translation to buy

The Possessed

or

The Devils (Demons)

A Novel in Three Parts

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Translated From The Russian By Constance Garnett

1916

This copy seems a “print on demand” and is not easy to read because the lines are crammed together and the wide format (7½”) (192 mm) is hard to hold. It seems meant to be on a desk with reader perched on a chair rather than posed on a comfortable daybed or lounge. Dostoyevsky appears on the cover also apparently a mis-spell – most probably publisher error because inside the author-name is as in the heading above, Fyodor Dostoevsky, which the Gutenberg Project (whose web page I cruised through) also would do as per the original.

The translation from Russian by Constance Garnett is good so I gather but due to mores of the time of translation, a chapter had to be omitted and other bits damped down.

I love the opening quote from A. Pushkin:

 
     “Strike me dead, the track has vanished,
     Well, what now? We’ve lost the way,
     Demons have bewitched our horses,
     Led us in the wilds astray.

     “What a number! Whither drift they?
     What’s the mournful dirge they sing?
     Do they hail a witch’s marriage
     Or a goblin’s burying?”

     A. Pushkin.

and I’m thoroughly enjoying the read. I felt compelled to look up who was in power at the time, what regimes were in force and, various ways of life apart from those encountered in The Possessed .

Initially I intended to buy Constance Garnett’s translation but now am considering Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky‘s. Blurb for their Vintage Classics edition says: “Inspired by the true story of a political murder that horrified Russians in 1869, Fyodor Dostoevsky conceived of Demons as a “novel phamphlet” in which he would say everything about the plague of materialist ideology that he saw infecting his native land. What emerged was a prophetic and ferociously funny masterpiece of ideology and murder in pre-revolutionary Russia.

What are your thoughts on these translations?

Meantime, I’ve got deeper into Constance Garnett’s copy and well-engrossed by the story which does appear to be rather prophetic of 20th Century and perhaps the 21st too.

From a writer’s point-of-view, the portraits of people are wonderful particularly the descriptions on pages 64-66 of this Library copy which will be much farther on in a regular-sized novel.

The complexities of day-to-day matters full with gossip and emotional outbursts in what otherwise should be controlled social order, character manipulations even to marriage along with emerging revolutionaries and suicides, stitch into some “strange friendships” and “vortex of combined circumstances” which see the downfall or declined activity of otherwise celebrated characters.

I like the strength and cunning, plotting and gossiping of the aristrocratic Vavara Petrovna Stavrogina who resides on the magnificent estate of Skvoreshniki. To what end is all that?

Subtle tempters to read on, innocent hints of what may happen next are strewn through the 69 of 394 pages (Vintage Classics stands at 768 pages 5.2″ width) so far I’ve read: like Vavara Petrovna’s matchmaking to cover-up “the sins of others”. She advises young Darya to keep a sharp look-out as Stepan Trofimovitch (idealised romantic poet) may hang himself. A voice whispers in the girl’s head, “Will he really do that? Or just threaten to?” And Vavara Petrovna tells her, “It’s not through strength of will but through weakness that people hang themselves, and so never drive him to an extreme, that’s the first rule in married life.”

(I really must put this book aside until I’ve got through my newly started next round of edits of A Greek Matinee – but I’m compulsive, want to see both to their ends!)

And there’s Pyotre Stepanovitch Verkhovensky (inspired by the revolutionary Sergey Nechayev) sewing dischord and breakdown of society. (Nechayev’s manifesto revolutionaries were encouraged to “aid the growth of calamity and every evil, which must at last exhaust the patience of the people and force them into general uprising”. His murder of Ivanov is the base for Vekhovensky’s murder of Shatov in Demons.)

As I read The Possessed (Demons) although meaning is pretty evident, I have my smart-phone handy with its Bixby Vision because in certain dialogues, French language mingles!… Ouch! We should have studied this book at school and integrated it’s French into those classes. But I suppose for young ladies in our then society a lot of the content would not have been appropriate as noted above, although my schooling was many-many decades after Constance Garnett made her translation and as said, she had to leave out a whole chapter and tone down much else due to social mores of the time.

PS: And on page 65 is the quote Ioana Pârvulescu used at the beginning of her Viitorul începe luni (The Future Begins on Monday): Quote from Demons

“One life is over and another is begun, then that one is over – a third begins.”

70

Péter Esterházy

Three books by Hungary’s Renowned Author: Celestial Harmonies, Not Art, The Glance of Countess Hahn-Hahn (down the Danube)

Celestial Harmonies

Translated by Judith Sollosy 2004

Not Art

Translated by Judith Sollosy 2010

Read on for these two truly quirky books but also,

Jump for Encounters with Lela I met at Central Station. This true story (except “Lela” stands in for the lady’s name) may nudge you to look again at Péter Esterházy and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

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The Glance of Countess Hahn-Hahn (down the Danube)

Translated from Hungarian by Richard Aczel 1999

As I too will be on the Danube one day, I look at this coming-of-age tale intermittently again.

I really enjoy Péter Esterházy’s writing. It’s very different to past reading adventures.

I’m still nibbling at his Not Art, another book that caused me to look up contemporary political situations and how they affected the populus. Peter Esterházy’s books are great explorations in fiction filled with allusions and history. Not Art with its “family stories” is “filled with irony, beauty, history, the Magnificent Magyars, father, grandmother, aunt, uncle, mother, life and death.” (Quote from the back of my copy.) Footnotes referencing the poet Sándor Petōfi, composer Béla Bartók and even the author’s own work, such as on page 156:  * “It is deucedly difficult to dive for pearls when you don’t know the truth” is a playful reference to the much-quoted first sentence of Péter Esterházy’s novel Celestial Harmonies: “It is deucedly difficult to tell a lie when you don’t know the truth,” add an interesting dimension to the work. Self-promotion? Why not?!  Clever. Outrageous. Edgy! The first footnote naturally, not only is on page 1 but also references our author: * A take on the first sentence of Esterházy’s novel Helping Verbs of the Heart (A szív segédigéi, 1985), “In the name of the Father and the Son…” Some people so I read somewhere, believe Not Art is autobiographical. Not for one moment did I! (hee-hee-heee!) Not Art centres on a son’s relationship to his mother who’s defining communication with the world is in the language of football. The Glance of Countess Hahn-Hahn (down the Danube) – a “road trip” work though the tale romps on the river from the Black Forest down to the Black Sea (And, hee-hee-heee, soon I hope, I’ll be going up the Danube from the Black Sea to as far as Budapest where Péter Esterházy was born, if all goes well – paid-up coupons still flutter from when the current pandemic put a stop to travel last year) sees a professional traveller who is commissioned to undertake a voyage of discovery and prepare a travelogue about the Danube. His reports are terse, surreal telegrams and accompanying him is his distantly-related nephew. The Glance of Countess Hahn-Hahn (down the Danube) is filled with allusion, fantasy, history and autobiography. Without having first read its back cover Celestial Harmonies, gave me a sneaking feeling author and character also merged, ebbed, flowed to some alternate space feeding reader hunger for more intimate involvement. Within twenty pages I couldn’t resist taking in the back cover: Péter Esterházy tells the epic story of his own family’s rise and fall, a story that explores the myth of the patriarch, mirrors the turmoil of Hungarian history, and slowly reveals the difficult truths of family and love … the family lore is rich, poignant, entertaining and awe-inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed / am enjoying again these three inventive reads. Péter Esterházy’s style is unique and his humour sophisticated. Celestial Harmonies is a big book: 846 pages, Not Art a mere 225 pages. The Glance of Countess Hahn-Hahn (down the Danube) comes in at 246. Péter Esterházy (1950-2016) was a member of one of Europe’s most prominent aristocratic families. Born in Budapest he was considered a leading figure of 20th century Hungarian literature and his books are widely considered significant contributions to postwar literature. Keep safe wherever you are dear readers.
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Geraldine Brooks

Years of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks.

Really worth reading. See how a village dealt with the pandemic so long ago. Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders sees Anna and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. Plague came from London to the isolated village on an infected bolt of cloth. The year is 1666 when death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting.

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56

Bertrand Russell

Conceptions of life and the world … Connection with Political and
Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day

History of Western Philosophy Bertrand Russell

First published 1946 – sixth impression 1971

An enlightening evergreen I pick up time-to-time. Always interesting.

I used never write in a book, mark-up pages, underline stuff but over recent years I have heavily marked this one (and other books on philosophy, religion, political situations I know I’ll want to return to). Is that naughty of me to make notes, lines and squiggles on the pages?

Even in the introduction I attacked with underlining: “The conceptions of life and the world which we call ‘philosophical’ are a product of two factors: one, inherited religious and ethical conceptions; the other, the sort of investigation which may be called ‘scientific’, using this word in its broadest sense.”

Scraps of paper with notes also mark places like at page 43 “Orpheus*… ‘orgy’ meant ‘sacrament’ – from their influence arose the conception of philosophy as a way of life*” through to The Romantic Period, Rousseau, and on page 717 Byron, with Nietzsche and William James also marked a bit farther on.

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58

Anstey Harris, Di Morrissey, Kayte Nunn, Jodi Picoult

The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris. After Cate’s best friend and husband Richard passes away, she loses her teaching job in London. Unable to pay the rent on her flat she with their son Leo, moves to the small town of Crouch-on-Sea to take up residence in Richard’s grandfather’s old Victorian museum.

Cate is determined to revive Hatter’s Museum of the Wide Wide World with its quirky taxidermy exhibits and sprawling grounds but with few visitors, it is faced with closure. On the day of the grand reopening all derails and Cate’s self-doubt spirals. Eventually she has to face the reality of Richard’s death and the role she played in it. The Museum of Forgotten Memories weaves life with death, past with present, grief with hope in this moving and curious novel.

Arcadia by Di Morrissey

Arcadia is set in 1930s southern Tasmania, Australia. Although some readers say “Arcadia” is predictable, I very much enjoyed the Mystery, History, Family-ness, embrace of Environment, Scientific experimentation and the importance of Conservation of the ancient forests.

As an artist, explorer and ex-yachtie certainly I was swept into the tale. I connected immediately with the characters and wept at certain events. And I enjoyed the in-tandem story which thoroughly connected the whole.

The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn

Anna, a gardener in Sydney Australia, inherits from her grandmother an old house. During renovations, a diary and mysterious box containing “dazzling” botanical watercolours, a photograph dated 1886, and a bag of seeds are discovered. Anna tries to decipher the diary entries and sets out on a quest to find out who E is.

Despite family protestations, she leaves her well-ordered life and gardening clients to track down Florence Deverell, a descendant of John Trebithick, plant-hunter and adventurer.

In the parallel time-frame headstrong Elizabeth leaves her rambling family home, Trebithick Hall, in Victorian England’s Cornwall, and takes to the sea for Chile where her late botanist father had been searching for a rare and miraculous plant. Elizabeth faces dangers and treachery while present-day Anna faces her own demons.

This book grabbed me for the adventures, strong women, art, plants and complications of life and family.

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

At first I was a little lost in some of the time shifts but, once in the swing, I am thoroughly enjoying the story. Particularly with the hieratic (of or in the ancient Egyptian cursive writing system used by priests) and the hieroglyphs. And archaeology of course. And choices one has to face.

The opening sentence of the Prologue: “My calendar is full of dead people.” alone, grabbed me. And I was swept to a dig in Egypt enjoying the parallels of the past and present, life and death, and complications of love and family.

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56

Book Encounters – Lela and Péter Esterházy

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…

Romancing with Lela, Péter Esterházy and Fyodor Dostoevsky at Central Station
Encounters with Lela
p42 Lela Celestial H Not Art 300       

In the concourse of Central Station I met a woman from Roumania. Outside rain poured heavily. Extremely so. It was the season for that. We had coffee together confident within an hour the storm would be passed. I began to suspect Lela’s internal ones never would.

When people of a certain race pressed in, munching hamburgers, gulping coffee, licking ice-creams and yabbering loudly, she turned her back to them, huddled closer to me. There was good reason, they coughed and spluttered without using a tissue or handkerchief to cover their sprayings. That was eighteen months ago. Now it’s mandatory to wear a mask in public places and particular spaces. Were these people never taught as children, as we were, to cough or sneeze into a handkerchief (which Mother boiled up in a copper with great quantities of salt, much rinsing then hanging up in the sun to dry) or use a disposable cloth which was burnt? Wash hands after… you know what! and before handling food?

But it was more than that. Lela warily scanned beyond the young people, her eyes seeking out darkest nooks and crannies and sifting amongst bodies pouring off the escalators.

And I suspected Lela was not her true name.

Her last name sounded Hungarian but she muttered it so softly I could not catch it. And it was so foreign to my ears and long, I would not have remembered it. She would not repeat it, nor would she write it when we exchanged telephone numbers.

We arranged to meet a month later closer to our homes – we’d both travelled far, her to go to the cathedral, me for a Sunday lecture up-river at the university.

Four weeks passed with intermittent telephone calls and definite arrangements. We met at a club with a large dining hall and several small casual-eating areas comfortably appointed with well-padded chairs and lounges ninety minutes from our respective homes. A half-way mark.

My new friend was in a beautifully embroidered white sunfrock. Utterly unlike anything I had seen before. I wore black jeans and jacket with a bright scarf draped about my neck. Despite her smiles and boisterous greeting, she seemed paranoiac, a trait I had begun to suspect when we first met… as if a Party-State black Volga would edge down the street, rein-in close, from its curtained interior a chill-complexioned thug make for her.

Despite her long drive she would not eat, nor take coffee. I said it was my treat but still she refused and we both drank water only. We shifted to a more intimate booth where she pulled a book from her basket and clutched it close to her chest.

Before allowing me to look at it, she glanced around. Glanced? No, she scrutinised the area in a practiced way though as covertly as she could.

Warily, she asked me again why was I going to Roumania. Why Transylvania. What was my purpose?

As if in a clandestine meeting in a cloak-and-dagger novel, she bade me draw my chair closer. She put the book on the table (it was sizeable) along with another, opened the first at a series of pictures. Old photographs. Great forests and mountains. Fairy-tale castles and carriages. Men, elegantly attired.

‘That is my grandfather,’ she said. ‘He is now dead. They got him. Some of us escaped. I returned last year when my grandmother was dying. Decades had passed. I missed her by a day. All our jewellery is gone. Stolen. And our estates.’

As a group of people came close, she darted furtive glances, closed the book, hid it in her basket. I never saw it again. Nor the other titled Once Upon a Transylvania.

I’m glad I’d been reading Péter Esterházy’s Celestial Harmonies. I had a handle on her behaviour. That fear that never seems to leave her. The old families of the East European Bloc when the big changes came, could not even trust one another. I’d seen it in the eyes of friends of my family when I was young. And our neighbours who were Polish. I remember a day when census officials were calling door-to-door. Mrs K had spotted them, leapt the fence, rushed up our twenty back stairs calling to my mother, ‘Quick, quick, police! They’re coming. Hurry! Come! Bring children. Quick! Must hide!’

I’m still reading Celestial Harmonies, I’m a slow reader, appreciating every nuance, every word and, it’s a big book at 841 pages (and admittedly I do break to take in other books).

Judith Sollosy translated Celestial Harmonies from Péter Esterházy’s Hungarian. She said, ‘Panic, too, can be a formative part of the translation process, an unwelcome source of inspiration … For Esterházy, style and content are inseparable, and the medium is the message … I had to bend a close ear to the text in order to distinguish the Esterházy from the pseudo- Esterházy … As his translator, I wanted to get inside Péter Esterházy’s head.’

And I’m reading Péter Esterházy’s Not Art.

Both books make one consider what else a novel can be. Just as Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Demons does (or, The Possessed as Constance Garnett in 1913 translated).

All three made me look up histories of Russia, Roumania and round-abouts.

Re-aligning my understanding of the politics of the time, how those came about and ways of life beyond those novels gave me deep insight to the characters and indeed the authors (both men were genius writers), and of course Lela.

Please leave a Comment, Like or/and sign up to  Follow 😀 I’m interested in your thoughts on this.
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Eclectic Collection of Authors

Apart from Ancient Writers, Poets, Mythographers, Philosophers, Historians, here’s a sprinkling of authors I’ve enjoyed prior to 2020

Fortification of my Writing Soul comes from many sources, notably family, friends, lecturers, well-known and not so well-known authors who swept me into intriguing worlds.

(Here’s a link to Some Books and Stuff I have Pored over for A Greek Matinée which consists mainly of reference books.)

The list below, in no particular order, is mainly of Novelists I’ve enjoyed:

Marion Bradley Gabriel Garcia Márquez
Colin da Silva Nancy Cato
Kris Waldherr Paul Coelho
Mia Couto Orhan Pamuk
Freya Stark Marco Polo
Gertrude Bell Geraldine Brooks
Virginia Woolf Michael Korda
Vita Sackville-West Ken Follett
Adrienne Mayor (“The Amazons”) Wilbur Smith
Margaret Atwood Robert Skimin
Margaret Drabble Robert Shea
Maya Lunde Paul Scott
Rumer Godden Bryce Courtenay
Christian Cameron Derek Lambert
Harry Sidebottom Susanna Tamaro
Umburto Eco Lucia St.Clair Robson
Rafik Schami James A. Michiner
Michael Swanwick George MacDonald Fraser
Agatha Christie M.G. Vassanji
Arundhati Roy Miguel de Cervantes
Salman Rushdie Péter Esterházy (translated from Hungarian)

…and dozens more including Mary O’Hara, Leslie Rees, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Herman Melville who started my love of books supported by my father who gave the-then-twelve-year-old me, “Sinuhe The Egyptian” by Mika Waltari translated into English by N.Walford, my first “grown-up’s book” to read.

Did you see the books I received for Christmas? Here’s the link About Me, Books & Things then scroll down. Alternatively, here they be:

Books for AGM 2 4B

Have you read any of these?

25

Me

Writing and Reading with sand between my toes … Orhan Pamuk, Peter Esterhazy, Harry Sidebottom, Umburto Eco, Ioana Pârvulescu, Delia Owens, Ovid, eclectic collections and, sobering thoughts as I flew over Roumania…

About Me, Books & Things, Quick Sketch in Flight, The Manuscript, Contact Me
  • A Greek Matinée is a work of fiction which obsessed me for several years right up to this moment which swells and shifts as if I’m possessed. Of March 2022 the manuscript is finished and I’m setting off on the road of finding a Literary Agent! I know it can be long. I’m ready! Oh what joy it will be when you can read your own copy all nicely bound by a great publisher! Who will it be?
  • A Greek Matinée is a tale set mainly in Greece. In 2016 I’d travelled there to immerse in things most Ancient, walk streets and pathways of our “cradle of western culture”. Prior to flying to Greece I’d been plotting A Greek Matinée, poring over  Greek histories, tragedies, comedies (link to Some Books and Stuff Pored over for A Greek Matinée), “sorted out” gods and, hoping to decipher even one word on an ancient stone, I attempted to learn to read Attic Greek one of the ancient languages spoken in some of the then City States. What a thrill when I actually recognised some bits of inscriptions! I’d swum in the Mediterranean Sea too! Seen Poseidon in a whirling fury soaring to the sky.
  • Yonks ago I’d finished an umpteenth fine-toothcombing and reduction of another story: Tigers in My Teacup which deliberately I put aside for A Greek Matinée which further developed and confirmed my style. My knowledge expanded in great leaps too and maturity blossomed – well, I think so! Tigers and another manuscript now badly need revisits! Maybe those two mss along with all my short stories I wrote as a member of a writing group were my next-level trainer-wheels having long-outgrown the baby-rollers.
  • I’m a member of Friends of Antiquity at University of Queensland, Royal Queensland Arts Society, Queensland Writers’ Centre, Probus and U3A where in 2019 I attended classes “Ancient Civilisations” as well as poetry and playing chess. Oh yes, and energising-socialising through Greek Dancing. For years I’ve been playing chess – although you’d not believe it if you were to play with me! ASA logo 100And now I’m an associate member of Australian Society of Authors.
  • Sometimes with pleasure I still labour with learning to read Attic Greek and almost daily – joyfully – Roumanian which has some similarities to Turkish of which I’d gained a smattering to survive travelling alone along the Black Sea coast where English seemed mythical after thriving on a marvellous tour and attending calligraphy (Arabic) classes in Istanbul – with the Master Calligrapher!
  • Oooh, here are Rough Travelling Sketches made inflight to UK 2016 before my adventures in Greece and second splash in Turkey – a military jet roared past but also I saw a plane smoking low down.


160904 An Eerie Silence over Turkey 400 and Sobering Thoughts p02

  • Had it been shot as we passed?
  • Nervously I ask: what will I encounter in Roumania soon!? (Some of the books I’m reading prior to departure are noted below.)
  • 2021 Update: Roumania? last year? this year? Oh dear, due to the ongoing pandemic sadly gripping the world, all overseas travel from here is banned. My paid-up fares and stuff are fluttering as coupons as thousands of other travellers drift in the same predicament. I do hope EVERYBODY, from the stranger on the street to the teams of front-line workers keep as safe as they possibly can – and have access to The Jab, roll up their sleeve for their shots, now that it’s been developed against this deadly virus.
  • During lockdown 2021, blow me down! I bought online  Viitorul începe luni by Ioana Pârvulescu which is printed in Romanian. So, what fun to try to translate it into English, find the right word and concept this fabulous author crafted in her own language. Ioana Pârvulescu is the award-winning writer of Life Begins on Friday.
  • I’m an avid reader. If the book is of an ancient non-English author, I’m a fan of having the original script opposite English translations like Apollodorus The Library, Ovid Tristia, Ex Ponto, The Art of Love and other Poems, Hesiod The Homeric Hymns which includes Works and Days, Theogony, The Shield of Heracles and other works. But as you see in the above para, not always an English translation is available.
  • I also enjoy more modern authors, Ioana Pârvulescu, the remarkable Delia Owens, Christian Cameron (I’m really sorry I turned down his invitation to join in an historical re-enactment in Greece prior to my planned trip there), Harry SidebottomUmburto Eco, Giles Milton, A.S. Byatt (though I struggle with Possession), of course Orhan Pamuk (got five of his books – did you recognise the right-hand pic of the montage at the top? I took that pic when I visited his … yes … Museum of Innocence); and after Peter Esterházy’s Celestial Harmonies, I loved Jack Faust by Michael Swanwick . And I’ve read The History of Bees by Maja Lunde (which I gave to my daughter-in-law – she’s an apiarist). At first I wasn’t sure what was going on as the first scene is in the future. Deeper in as I slid into the third time-frame going backwards, it clicked. A jolly good read. And there are these:
An eclectic mix – my library contains over a thousand books not to mention archaeology magazines and now, Christmas pressies!! due to my pending trip – Yes, Roumania with a flit in Budapest: Peter Esterházy again.

Books for AGM 2 4B

 

  • My Interests: Writing, Reading, Gardening, Swimming in the Sea, Art: painting, drawing, printmaking (intaglio, lino cut, woodcut); Travel, Ancient History, Archaeology, Playing Chess and of course, Family.

FAVOURITE QUOTES

 

  • There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life. Ambrose Bierce
  • Did you like the photos I took in Athens and Istanbul for my signature strip?
  • What are your thoughts on all this? Below there’s a slot for you to leave a Comment [Leave a Reply] I’d be delighted if you left me a comment 🙂 
  • I do hope you will become a “Follower” of me, my site. Someday you may will find a novel of mine on the shelves of a bookshop 🙂 perhaps your favourite!
  • If you had difficulty becoming a Follower I apologise. The [Follow Elizabeth] button now works. On a computer it’s at the top right. On a Smart-Phone it’s way down the bottom past Comments! If you’re not a registered WordPress person, the pink form in my In Wet Sands – Ebbs and Flows is easy and works from a Smart-Phone! As with Life nothing stays the same, things change, sometimes at an alarming rate. Sometimes Good. Sometimes Bad. Progress gallops into an even more technical age. Let’s hope the world heals quickly from present chaos. And that people continue to read books, finger Real Paper, hardcopy… oh dear, there is a generation risen, and netting in others, who prefer on-the-go-electronic-versions. But I like the smell of books, the feel of them in my hands…

Thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoy my site. Have a browse through menus. You can jump to pages like,  Contemporary Fiction, Genre – A Perspective, and considering A Greek Matinée   or,  Book Encounters   and,  Beta-Readers, perhaps  Expanding Our Brains iii Frogs  or even consider one of my Recipes or Paintings.

Frogs and Things

Update: 210929. {Earlier: 200116 (doesn’t that yymmdd config. look funny?)}

Always I’m referring to those books mentioned earlier and am continuing with:

Peter Esterházy “The Glance of Countess Hahn-Hahn (down the Danube)” – at last finished!, “Not Art”- nearly finished 🙂 , “Celestial Harmonies” – which I’m still sipping, absorbing – it’s a big book like Cervantes “Don Quixote” is    Ovid “Tristia” and “Ex Ponto” – my delight to fully relax with    William Blacker “Along the Enchanted Way”    Ioana Pârvulescu “Life Begins on Friday” Bruce Simpson “Where the Outback Drovers Ride”   Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way”  ♥  Herodotus “The Histories” – forever absorbing ♥

p11 6bks PE WB IP BS JC H

all of which I’m thoroughly enjoying. And for amusement two years ago there was “Asterix and the Normans”, “Asterix in Switzerland” and, “Asterix and the Cauldron”.

Oh, and I’m re-reading A Greek Matinée looking for errors in my grammar, spelling and refinement of ideas.

2018 April 16: This week, Aristophanes’s “Frogs”, Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”, marshmallow-reading, Marco Polo, and “Black Cats and April Fools” are put aside for Peter Esterházy’s “Celestial Harmonies”, an “unusual and remarkable book”. It stands at 846 pages – an epic story of conquest, tragedy, triumph and near destruction of a prominent aristocratic family in Hungary.

…..And now it’s June with Ovid’s Tristia . Ex Ponto

leap to Fossils to see what it meant to science when men working on foundations for an overhead road-pass, drew up ancient shale with a tiny limb bone of a really- ancient frog. 20200124 Fossil cores Plant Snail Fish Croc-vert 400 mauve 3

and leap to Expanding Our Brains iii Frogs   Aristophanes Frogs Βάτραχοι. Don’t you just love him? – Brain Food  

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