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Posts posted by Calliope

  1. After a 2 day heatwave (it was over 40C yesterday) I'm in front of an open window enjoying a cool breeze on a sunny day. Lovely.


    ... I'm also listening to the news, and waiting to hear about a cyclone that is basically going to blow Queensland over. Poor old Queensland. What a summer.

  2. I've read Exodus and Lolita, but some of the other ones I only know from movies: Dr. Zhivago and Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is a little embarrassing to admit, especially on a website devoted to books.

    I didn't even know The Godfather was a particularly successful book - let alone my birthday best seller. The French Lieutenant's Woman at no 2 does not embarrass me quite so much.

  3. Sometimes I think editors make changes just because they can... if those are the only edits you're getting, s/he must be really keen on your work over all.


    Tessa Hadley appeals to me for so many reasons. Most of them consist of her being the mother of 3 boys plus 3 stepsons - and still writing worthwhile stuff, in her forties. Slap on the back, you go girl sort of reaction from me. But I think many readers of Hilary Mantel or even Rose Tremain might find her subject matter a little limited. I don't mean to criticise her for having a narrow focus - as long as her lens is clear - but I'd like to see something a bit more ambitious from Hadley before comparing her to those very ambitious writers. Maybe not another Wolf Hall, though. One of those is enough ;)


    ETA I do however think that having serious writers engage with domestic fiction is important!

  4. Gobsmacked.


    So sorry to read that, Hazel. After all that worry too!!! I'm definitely as suspicious as Meg about the surgeon's motives. But you're well clear of him. Any doctor who leaves it until that moment to decide what to do clearly doesn't have the patient's best interests at heart.


    Wishing you an easy sore-throat-free 6 months.... (and a second opinion)

  5. I would like to be the first to wish Kimberley HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

    I know in the UK it's tomorrow, but in Australia that will be sometime today - if you follow me.


    Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kimberley - hope it's a good one.

    Thank you! So far, it's been pretty good :)

  6. The doc said that the op isn't as bad as one of my worst tonsillitis episodes

    That was very much my experience of the op, when I had it as a child. A bad episode was very bad. And after the operation... Never again.

    But I am a big baby when it comes to things like this. Pathetic.

    You are, a bit! Get over yourself ;)


    Seriously, good luck with it all. It's a bit scary, but you'll be so glad you went through with it.

  7. The fountains mingle with the river,

    And the rivers with the ocean,

    The winds of heaven mix forever

    With a sweet emotion;

    Nothing in the world is single;

    All things by a law divine

    In one another's being mingle;--

    Why not I with thine?


    See the mountains kiss high heaven

    And the waves clasp one another

    No sister-flower would be forgiven

    If it disdained its brother;

    And the sunlight clasps the earth,

    And the moonbeams kiss the sea;

    What are all these kissings worth

    If thou kiss not me?

  8. Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds, boy

    She’ll beat you if she’s able

    You know the Queen of Hearts is always your best bet

    Now it seems to me, some fine things

    Have been laid upon your table

    But you only want the ones that you can’t get


    Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger

    Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home

    And freedom, oh freedom well, that’s just some people talkin’

    Your prison is walking through this world all alone

  9. . Hope everyone down under is safe. I'll be lucky if our rain gives my patio a bit of a clean.

    Very safe... we're interstate and live on top of a ridge... getting home from anywhere means walking uphill, something I have a new appreciation for.


    Seeing my own old house underwater on TV was confronting enough that I'm still thinking about it days later. Living there, we were above the level of the 1974 floods and thought we were safe. But the waters rose differently this time and in Fig Tree Pocket, apparently came 1.3m higher than in 1974. I really feel for an old friend of mine who has been trying to sell her house. There was television footage of people rowing down the street.

  10. For the first few chapters I was slightly irritated by the oft repeated 'Pereira maintains' but then grew to accept this narrative device (as if Pereira was telling his story?

    It's more than that, though - the way it's much more than the equivalent of legal testimony - it's an invitation for us to consider the very making of a story, the importance of what we say and how we say it. And how what we can say is even more important when society tries to censor it.


    What is there to truth and to testimony other than the words we can use to express it in? To me the distancing effect of the "Pereira maintains" statements is a reminder that the story of a man's life can amount to no more than what can be said about him. Pereira hires Rossi to write obituaries for significant writers who are still alive, but cannot print them because they go against the dominant political ideology of his times. Under fascism and under censorship, what people's lives mean in no longer something that can adequately be expressed. Pereira's own living obituary (which we are reading) is stifled too - but we can sense a truth beneath it.


    It's interesting that this book was first published in Italy in 1994 - the year of Berlusconi's election. As of 2009, Freedom House has rated the press in Italy as only "partly free" due to the conflict of interest between Berlusconi's political power and his degree of media ownership. But its political meaning is only one of the reasons this is an important book. Its engagement with the literary - with what it means to tell a story - is what I will remember most about Pereira Maintains.

  11. The love of field and coppice,

    Of green and shaded lanes.

    Of ordered woods and gardens

    Is running in your veins,

    Strong love of grey-blue distance

    Brown streams and soft dim skies

    I know but cannot share it,

    My love is otherwise.


    I love a sunburnt country,

    A land of sweeping plains,

    Of rugged mountain ranges,

    Of droughts and flooding rains.

    I love her far horizons,

    I love her jewel-sea,

    Her beauty and her terror -

    The wide brown land for me!


    A stark white ring-barked forest

    All tragic to the moon,

    The sapphire-misted mountains,

    The hot gold hush of noon.

    Green tangle of the brushes,

    Where lithe lianas coil,

    And orchids deck the tree-tops

    And ferns the warm dark soil.


    Core of my heart, my country!

    Her pitiless blue sky,

    When sick at heart, around us,

    We see the cattle die -

    But then the grey clouds gather,

    And we can bless again

    The drumming of an army,

    The steady, soaking rain.

  12. - and concerned for my old friends still there.[/quoteMy old school friend who was in the UK last summer lives in Brisbane, and I keep looking online to see if her district is under threat (OK at the moment). I can't begin to imagine the magnitude of the flooding.
    It's massive, the one good thing that can be said about the situation in Brisbane is that - unlike in Toowoomba, a couple of days ago - the people there whose property is in danger should have plenty of warning and time to get themselves and their pets to higher ground.
  13. The grandson of George has been all around the world

    And lives no special place

    He changed his last name and he married a girl

    With an interesting face

    He'd almost forgotten them both

    Because in the life that he leads

    There's nowhere for George or his library or the son with his gun

    To belong, except in this song


    Time is a traveller. Tenterfield Saddler turn your head

    Ride again jackaroo. Think I see kangaroo up ahead

    Time is a meddler, Tenterfield Saddler make your bed

    Fly away cockatoo, down on the ground emu up ahead


  14. ....just watching the news of my old neighbourhood - including the house I brought my babies home to, as newborns - being submerged as the Brisbane River rises.


    Slightly awestruck by the power of nature - and concerned for my old friends still there.

  15. I have two fairly substantial problems with this novel. The first is that despite Jacobson's insistence that it's a comedy, and his implication that there is something wrong with readers who don't like it (not bright enough to get it, obviously) it's just not enjoyable. It reads like a very long "in" joke, with the in crowd in question being middle aged male Finklers like the author himself.


    The novel's Finklers are Jews and the Finkler Question is ... you get the point. The second problem i have with the story is with the non-Finkler main character's obsession with Finklerism. Perhaps there are Gentiles obsessed with Judaism but Jacobson's personal obsession with what Jewishness means (his own Finkler Question) is so utterly overwhelming and repetitive and - yes - dull that he is never able to convince me why anyone else would be interested. Or why I should be interested.


    I responded very warmly to Jacobson's Booker acceptance speech, and I wanted to like this book. But I think books should entertain or inform or ... Something.... And I think Jacobson himself (saying it's a comedy, for instance) is more convincing than his text. I can't judge it absolutely because I'm not old enough or male or Jewish, but for me, it was just a monotonous yawn.

  16. My fiftieth year had come and gone,

    I sat, a solitary man,

    In a crowded London shop,

    An open book and empty cup

    On the marble table-top.

    While on the shop and street I gazed

    My body of a sudden blazed;

    And twenty minutes more or less

    It seemed, so great my happiness,

    That I was blessed and could bless.


    Although the summer Sunlight gild

    Cloudy leafage of the sky,

    Or wintry moonlight sink the field

    In storm-scattered intricacy,

    I cannot look thereon,

    Responsibility so weighs me down.


    Things said or done long years ago,

    Or things I did not do or say

    But thought that I might say or do,

    Weigh me down, and not a day

    But something is recalled,

    My conscience or my vanity appalled.


    A rivery field spread out below,

    An odour of the new-mown hay

    In his nostrils, the great lord of Chou

    Cried, casting off the mountain snow,

    `Let all things pass away.'

  17. Remember when we met

    The way you made me laugh

    How could I forget I found my better half


    But lately I've been feeling strong

    And you've been falling behind

    Oh tell me what went wrong

    'Cus I can't read your mind


    I'm on your side

    Are you too blind to see

    I'm on your side

    You know I'm not the enemy

  18. Twice or thrice had I loved thee,

    Before I knew thy face or name;

    So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame,

    Angels affect us oft, and worshipped be;

    Still when, to where thou wert, I came,

    Some lovely glorious nothing I did see.

    But since my soul, whose child love is,

    Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,

    More subtle than the parent is,

    Love must not be, but take a body too;

    And therefore what thou wert, and who,

    I bid love ask, and now

    That it assume thy body I allow,

    And fix itself to thy lip, eye, and brow.

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