Joyce’s work is so dense and so expansive that I would be hard pressed to write all of the lessons to be learned from it. But these few stick in my mind.
Everybody have a great day, and remember:
Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.
You may know that Literary Fragments recently published Randal Eliot’s What Goes and Comes Around. What instantly attracted us to the novel was its clear understanding that conflict and the movement towards its resolution comprise the very essence of powerful literature. Those of you who take advantage of this opportunity to read What Goes and Comes Around’s opening chapter will soon see what we mean. Moreover, you’ll recognise some incisive, fluid characterisation at a highly-charged point of anagnorisis (a literary scene of recognition or discovery). The skillfully-executed stichomythia (dramatic dialogue of alternate single lines) not only adds humour, energy and atmosphere to the text’s exposition, but serves as yet another indication that Randal Eliot’s hybrid-realism is accessibly, entertainingly poignant and relevant.
‘Look here! Your friends might have been born during the last commercial break on Sky ultra-direct debit – and don’t…
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“I have been promised that it is not only possible, but in my very nature to be forgiving and use everything in my life for growth (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 48, 134, 204). But those are hard truths to swallow when you are buried in ashes or blazing in fire. The ability to be hopeful and creative seems all but impossible as your life passes from you.”
I have never thought of the phoenix as a particularly proud bird. Maybe due to my familiarity with the character of Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore’s rather good-natured pet who comes to the rescue of Harry Potter more than once in his time at Hogwarts. I’d always assumed the phoenix to be more noble than proud. Maybe somewhat aloof with an air of regalia.
I could see, though, how such a bird might develop a reputation for having a bit of an ego: dying and rising, burning gloriously in bright circles of fire, bringing forth scalding white life. I could see why others might view her as proud, boastful of her ability to regenerate. I could see why she’d be the gossip of a gaggle.
That is, until I had been there myself. Felt as if my life had been taken, all hope sucked from my body. Until my spirit had been wrenched and pulled and twisted and…
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‘Tis the season:
Youssef Rakha’s Crocodiles, trans Robin Moger (2015). This is a very different book from Rakha’s complex and layered debut, Sultan’s Seal. It’s an epic prose poem, or perhaps a novel-in-prose-poems, and it’s not just racy but also fast-paced, which seems a bit odd to say of poetry. Although Rakha insists it’s fictional, it has a tell-all feel about Cairo’s recent poetry scene, and many echoes of Bolaño. An excerpt of Crocodiles on Qisasukhra.
Amjad Nasser’s Petra, trans. Fady Joudah (2014). Although the most amazing place to read Petra would be Petra, this world-jarring slim collection — a long poem, a travel journal, a meditation on the construction and re-construction of history — takes us to Petra so vividly that you could sit on a beach in Ohio and find yourself transported. So if you’re going to a beach in Ohio, this is probably a must. Buy it now…
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