An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vote Obama says the Greek Orthodox Church

I saw this in the newspaper here today. The Greek Orthodox church has no qualms about taking part in politics, in the US or anywhere else, since it is regularly a part of the executive state in Greece. Mind you in Greece almost everyone involves themselves in political debate so the fact that the state church does the same does not disturb the electorate.

However the message shown is pretty stark :  

Roughly speaking the sign says: Vote for the black - the other guy is a wanker. How true! How direct! How politically incorrect!
Refreshing isn't it?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Book Review: The Lavender Way (the modem years) by Papalazarou

Attend! I'm about to drive readers away in droves. This is for the cognoscenti.

If you don't know I write book reviews then leave now.

If you don't know that I write experimental fiction then leave now.

Don't you just love those then and now juxtapositions? No? Then leave now.

OK, now we are all friends together, cozy and comfortable in our own small world, Huddle closer and I'll tell you something special.

Writing is a lonely pursuit. Reading is a sociable pursuit. You can always share what you have read - that is why I write reviews. Only people who have read your work can share it if you write. Only rarely do they share it with the writer.

Luckily for me, popularity and sales have never motivated me to write. Critical acclaim would be nice. Appreciation likewise. Despite having written loads of reviews I've never had a review of one of my works and certainly not of my only book form work - The Lavender Way (the modem years). Today that lack was rectified. Someone who is reading my book emailed me. I'll say no more than that this made my day.

"May I just say how much I'm enjoying your book. It has become a prize 'pick up and dip into' possession...useful for the bath and stolen minutes of solitude away from pressures of work/home/life.

I'm liking the sense of a thing developing it's own life - the introduction of different voices, the way it switches from a daily log, to discussions on literature, art, politics etc...from gossipy asides to full blown rants, to experimental exercises in self imposed constraints. It's varied enough to keep me continually interested. So well done.

The best thing about it though, is a continued sense of joy in simply being alive in a wonderful place, which I find ... inspiring I suppose. So thank you for that. Long may the log chopping (and occasional finger chopping) continue."

Love it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Book Review : The Untouchable by John Banville.

I finished this book almost a week ago - so why has it taken me so long to write the review? A good question and one I have been asking myself in all that time. Maybe this following digression will help explain things.

Some few years ago I was having a heated discussion with a very good friend, Charles Unwin, who is a very clever guy and a great reader. We were talking about Martin Amiss, must have been about the time that Money came out, and I opined that while Martin was clearly very talented compared to his father Kingsley he had yet to produce a novel anywhere near as good as anything his father had produced. On this we kind of agreed and Charles suggested that the father's lack of natural. immanent talent had made of him a hard working writer who had thus produced some very good work by dint of hard work and application. The fact that Martin writes extremely well and obviously knows his history of the novel he has yet, in my opinion, to produce a very good let alone a great novel. I fear i fact that his publishing deal will stop him from ever so doing. And in some ways I think that this is my problem with Banville.

Banville is a great writer who has yet to write a great novel and yet ... And yet ... I still feel he might. HIs writing continues to improve but none of his subject matter matches his talent.  And so I keep reading him. And his novels are good ... not very good ... and a long way from great ... but his writing shines through. One day he may do it.

The Untouchable is a loosely disguised contemplation on the Blunt, Burgess, Maclean betrayal of the UK. Banville's  Maskell (Blunt) is well drawn and beautifully mannered but where I was expecting an essay on the nature of betrayal I received instead a classic lesson in UK class structures that came nowhere close to the insight that Genet brings to this fascinating subject. Banville lets the real notion encompassed in his topic escape him.  Maskell comes out as slight and simply egotistical (as do his co-conspirators) and this is a travesty entertaining though his take on the whole thing is.

The traitor and betrayal are wonderful topics and Banville sadly manages to betray them.  What, I wonder, will bring out his greatness? I shall continue to read him and would recommend yo to do the same.

One day. One day.