In a deep well, reflections on reading Haruki Murakami’s Wind-up Bird Chronicle

It is a rare writer who can combine the spectra of recent history in its full horror, the dreams of love, and the mysteries of the soul. So is Monsieur Murakami. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle was published in Japan in 1995, and once again, I regretted my inability to read the novel in the writer’s language.Continue reading “In a deep well, reflections on reading Haruki Murakami’s Wind-up Bird Chronicle”

#FiveSentenceFiction: Conflict

We know how it all starts: lies, distrust, fear… We also know how it finishes, the ruins, the lost lives, the seeds of more to come: 1871, 1918, 1945, and the tall stories the alleged victors tell. What we don’t know is how to stop the lies, the stupidity, the fear: for those are theContinue reading “#FiveSentenceFiction: Conflict”

#FiveSentenceFiction: Maps #Valleys #Normandy #Eu #1914

We look at the map: in front of us runs the long road, above the shore, bordered by legendary harbours, and wildlife reserves. Here Saint Laurent O’Toole came from green Ireland, and blessed the town where he now rests. Here William took his future young bride, fair Mathilde, to the altar, and then, with hisContinue reading “#FiveSentenceFiction: Maps #Valleys #Normandy #Eu #1914”

#DailyPrompt: A Tale of Two Cities ~ #Berlin and #Paris

If you could split your time… Your past is both frightening and inspiring; along those avenues and in your museums lie some of the darkest secrets. We remember, yet, often, today’s visitors are blissfully ignorant. Your beauty has survived the worse hours of Europe’s long history. Those ghosts are our constant companions as we walk your streets, kiss inContinue reading “#DailyPrompt: A Tale of Two Cities ~ #Berlin and #Paris”

#AtoZAprilChallenge: Zadig

 He is a fictional character, without historical substance, but his author intended him to show how little control mankind has on her destiny. The year was 1747, and Voltaire also wanted to say something about orthodoxy, the established order and the rule of logic. The Book of Fate is a work of considerable influence on writers acrossContinue reading “#AtoZAprilChallenge: Zadig”

#DailyPrompt: Pride and Joy

What’s your most prize possession? He could not understand those youngsters glorifying a past which was alien to them: how could they know? How could they even understand what it had been like? He could tell them, but he doubted they would listen. So they marched in the streets of still peaceful cities, ignorant, holding flags andContinue reading “#DailyPrompt: Pride and Joy”

#AtoZAprilChallenge: Xenophobia

 Simplistically, xenophobia is “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries”, that is “foreigners”. The English Wikipedia article explains that “Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire toContinue reading “#AtoZAprilChallenge: Xenophobia”

#AtoZAprilChallenge: (On) War

He wrote from a position of knowledge: that of people who have been there, who stared defeat in the face, felt the icy lips of Death, and, later, much later, realised the sweetness of victory. He’s an officer’s officer, the strategist of the European legend. When Carl von Clausewitz started writing his book, “On War”, shortlyContinue reading “#AtoZAprilChallenge: (On) War”

#AtoZAprilChallenge: Hegemony

 “Hegemony was probably taken directly into English from Greek, egemonia, (derived from) egemon – leader, ruler, often in the sense of a state other than his own. Its sense of political predominance, usually of one state over another, is not common before C19, but has since persisted and is now fairly common, together with hegemonic,Continue reading “#AtoZAprilChallenge: Hegemony”

#AToZAprilChallenge: Genius

 Wikipedia: “A genius is a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of an unprecedented leap of insight. This may refer to a particular aspect of an individual, or the individual in his or her entirety; to a scholar in many subjects (e.g.Continue reading “#AToZAprilChallenge: Genius”