Friday, April 18, 2014

García Márquez / The Airplane of Sleeping Beauty

The Airplane of Sleeping Beauty
By Gabriel García Márquez

She was beautiful, elastic, with tender skin the color of bread and green almond-shaped eyes. Her hair was straight and black and reached her waist, and she had an aura of rich ancestry, the kind that could have been from Indonesia or the Andes. She dressed in fine taste: a linen jacket, a natural silk blouse with pale flowers, rough linen pants, and high heeled shoes the color of bougainvillea flowers. “This is the most beautiful woman that I have ever seen in my life,” I thought, when I saw her pass with her stealthy, long, lioness strides while I got in line to board the plane to New York at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. She was a supernatural apparition that lasted only an instant, then disappeared into the crowd in the lobby.  

García Márquez / Ghosts of August

Ghosts of August
By Gabriel García Márquez

We got to Arezzo a little before midday, and we wasted more than two hours looking for the Renaissance castle that Miguel Otero Silva, a Venezuelan writer, had bought in the idyllic bends of the Tuscan countryside. It was a Sunday in early August, burning and bustling. With the streets filled with tourists, it was almost impossible to find someone who knew their way around. After many fruitless attempts, we returned to the automobile and left the city on a path lined with lifeless cypresses. An old woman watching the geese told us exactly where the castle was. Before leaving she asked if we planned to sleep there. So we answered that we were only going for lunch, as we had planned.
“Thank goodness,” she said, “because that house is haunted.”

García Márquez / Artificial Roses

Artificial Roses
By Gabriel García Márquez

Groping her way in the half-light of dawn, Mina put on the sleeveless dress that she had hung next to her bed the night before and rummaged through her trunk for her fake sleeves. Then she searched for them on the nails in the wall and behind the door, trying not to make a sound so as not to wake her blind grandmother who slept in the same room. When her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she realized that her grandmother had gotten up. So she went to thekitchen to ask her about the sleeves.
“They’re in the bathroom,” said the blind woman. “I washed them yesterday afternoon.”

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gabriel García Márquez / A life in pictures

Gabriel García Márquez – a life in pictures

The Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who has died aged 87, helped to ignite the worldwide boom in Spanish literature with novels such as 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Here we celebrate his life with a selection of images charting his journey from childhood in northern Colombia to global literary titan
THE GUARDIAN, 17 April 2014
Gabriel García Márquez at his house in Mexico City, 2010
Gabriel García Márquez at his house in Mexico City, 2010. Photograph: Miguel Tovar/AP
Gabriel García Márquezas a baby
Gabriel García Márquezez as a baby. Photograph: Balcells Archive

Gabriel García Márquez dies aged 87

Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate writer, dies aged 87

Colombian author became standard-bearer for Latin American letters after success of One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Richard Lea and Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
The Guardian, Thursday 17 april 2014

Gabriel García Márquez in Monterrey in 2007
Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez in Monterrey in 2007. Photograph: Tomas Bravo/Reuters
The Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who unleashed the worldwide boom in Spanish literature with his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, has died at the age of 87. He had been admitted to hospital in Mexico City on 3 April with pneumonia.

Edmund White / García Márquez made the technique his own

Gabriel Garcia Márquez

Others had used magic realism. García Márquez made the technique his own

An appreciation of the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, who has died aged 87, by American novelist Edmund White
Edmundo White
The Guardian, Thursday 17 April 2014

Gabriel García Márquez with a fan – holding a special edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude – in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, in 2007. Photograph: Ballesteros/EPA
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a masterpiece because it is an episodic novel that has a rigorous form – an unprecedented combination.
From the very beginning we know the town of Macondo will endure only a century, so there is a limit to the length of the narrative.

García Márquez / One Hundred Years of Solitude / David Gallagher

From the archive, 28 June 1970: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Observer review (of translation by Gregory Rabassa) by David Gallagher
David Gallagher
The Guardian, Thursday 17 April 2014

one hundred years review
England is now certainly the last remaining civilised country in which the extraordinary zest and originality of contemporary Latin American fiction has not been recognised.
At a time when the novel appears to many to have generally burnt itself out, Latin Americans have boisterously resuscitated the genre by presenting sheer original subject matter in a vigorous language and a correspondingly original form.

Kafka / The Silence of the Sirens

by Franz Kafka

Proof that inadequate, even childish measures, may serve to rescue one from peril.

   To protect himself from the Sirens Ulysses stopped his ears with wax and had himself bound to the mast of his ship. Naturally any and every traveller before him could have done the same, except those whom the Sirens allured even from a great distance; but it was known to all the world that such things were of no help whatever. The song of the Sirens could pierce through everything, and the longing of those they seduced would have broken far stronger bonds than chains and masts. But Ulysses did not think of that, although he had probably heard of it. He trusted absolutely to his handful of wax and his fathom of chain, and in innocent elation over his little stratagem sailed out to meet the Sirens.

   Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing has never happened, still it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never. Against the feeling of having triumphed over them by one's own strength, and the consequent exaltation that bears down everything before it, no earthly powers could have remained intact.

  And when Ulysses approached them the potent songstresses actually did not sing, whether because they thought that this enemy could be vanquished only by their silence, or because of the look of bliss on the face of Ulysses, who was thinking of nothing but his wax and his chains, made them forget their singing.

   But Ulysses, if one may so express it, did not hear their silence; he thought they were singing and that he alone did not hear them. For a fleeting moment he saw their throats rising and falling, their breasts lifting, their eyes filled with tears, their lips half-parted, but believed that these were accompaniments to the airs which died unheard around him. Soon, however, all this faded from his sight as he fixed his gaze on the distance, the Sirens literally vanished before his resolution, and at the very moment when they were nearest to him he knew of them no longer.

  But they--lovelier than ever--stretched their necks and turned, let their cold hair flutter free in the wind, and forgetting everything clung with their claws to the rocks. They no longer had any desire to allure; all that they wanted was to hold as long as they could the radiance that fell from Ulysses' great eyes.

   If the Sirens had possessed consciousness they would have been annihilated at that moment. But they remained as they had been; all that had happened was that Ulysses had escaped them.A codicil to the foregoing has also been handed down. Ulysses, it is said, was so full of guile, was such a fox, that not even the goddess of fate could pierce his armour. Perhaps he had really noticed, although here the human understanding is beyond its depths, that the Sirens were silent, and opposed the afore-mentioned pretence to them and the gods merely as a sort of shield.

Read also

Kafka / The Vulture

The Vulture
by Gerardo Orellana

by Franz Kafka

A vulture was hacking at my feet. It had already torn my boots and stockings to shreds, now it was hacking at the feet themselves. Again and again it struck at them, then circled several times restlessly round me, then returned to continue its work. A gentleman passed by, looked on for a while, then asked me why I suffered the vulture.

"I'm helpless," I said. "When it came and began to attack me, I of course tried to drive it away, even to strangle it, but these animals are very strong, it was about to spring at my face, but I preferred to sacrifice my feet. Now they are almost torn to bits."

"Fancy letting yourself be tortured like this!" said the gentleman. "One shot and that's the end of the vulture."

"Really ?" I said. "And would you do that?"

"With pleasure," said the gentleman, "I've only got to go home and get my gun. Could you wait another half hour?"

"I'm not sure about that," said I, and stood for a moment rigid with pain. Then I said: "Do try it in any case, please."

"Very well," said the gentleman, "I'll be as quick as I can."

During this conversation the vulture had been calmly listening, letting its eye rove between me and the gentleman. Now I realized that it had understood everything; it took wing, leaned far back to gain impetus, and then, like a javelin thrower, thrust its beak through my mouth, deep into me. Falling back, I was relieved to feel him drowning irretrievably in my blood, which was filling every depth, flooding every shore.

Read also

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Villiers de L'Isle-Adam / The Torture of Hope

by Mariano Gabriel Pérez

by Villiers de L'Isle-Adam
from Nouveaux contes cruels
MANY years ago, as evening was closing in, the venerable Pedro Arbuez d'Espila, sixth prior of the Dominicans of Segovia, and third Grand Inquisitor of Spain, followed by a fra redemptor, and preceded by two familiars of the Holy Office, the latter carrying lanterns, made their way to a subterranean dungeon. The bolt of a massive door creaked, and they entered a mephitic in pace, where the dim light revealed between rings fastened to the wall a blood-stained rack, a brazier, and a jug. On a pile of straw, loaded with fetters and his neck encircled by an iron carcan, sat a haggard man, of uncertain age, clothed in rags.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Octavio Paz / My Life with the Wave

My Life with the Wave
by Octavio Paz
Translated by Eliot Weinberger

Octavio Paz /  Mi vida con la ola (A short story in Spanish)
Octavio Paz / Ma vie avec la vague (A short story in French)

When I left that sea, a wave moved ahead of the others. She was tall and light. In spite of the shouts of the others who grabbed her by her floating clothes, she clutched my arm and went off with me leaping. I didn’t want to say anything to her, because it hurt me to shame her in front of her friends. Besides, the furious stares of the elders paralyzed me. When we got to town, I explained to her that it was impossible, that life in the city was not what she had been able to imagine with the ingenuity of a wave that had never left the sea. She watched me gravely: “No, your decision is made. You can’t go back.” I tried sweetness, hardness, irony. She cried, screamed, hugged, threatened. I had to apologize.

Monday, April 14, 2014

James Salter / Comet

Jackson Pollack
by James Salter

Philip married Adele on a day in June. It was cloudy and the wind was blowing. Later the sun came out. It had been a while since Adele had married and she wore white: white pumps with low heels, a long white skirt that clung to her hips, a filmy blouse with a white bra underneath, and around her neck a string of freshwater pearls. They were married in her house, the one she’d gotten in the divorce. All her friends were there. She believed strongly in friendship. The room was crowded.

James Salter / An Interview


An excerpt


For decades, mere mention of the name James Salter has been a kind of secret literary handshake. He is one of the most highly respected contemporary American stylists but also a writer “who particularly rewards those for whom reading is an intense pleasure,” as Susan Sontag wrote. A graduate of West Point, Salter served in the U.S. Air Force and flew more than one hundred combat missions during the Korean War, the subject for his first novel, The Hunters, published in 1956. After his second novel, The Arm of Flesh (revised in 2000 as Cassada), Salter left the military to write full-time. The novels that followed—A Sport and a PastimeLight Years, and Solo Faces—are among those that Salter considers his best. He is also the author of the short-story collections Dusk and Last Night, as well as a book of travel writing, There and Then, and a memoir, Burning the Days. In 2000, Salter was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
I interviewed James Salter in New Orleans on November 9, 2010.

KR: In Burning the Days, you write about beginning your literary life while still in the air force and later on, when you were recalled: “I had three lives, one during the day, one at night, and the last in a drawer in my room in a small book of notes.” You’ve said that writing felt like a “queer thing to be doing” at that time but that something kept you going. What did you hope to achieve with The Hunters?
JS: I hoped that it would be published. And I hoped it would be well known but that the writer of it would be unknown. I had some ideal of anonymity at the time. Beyond that, I knew the novel was accurate and there was nothing written quite like it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

James Salter Interview / The Most Famous Writer

James Salter

James Salter Interview: The Most Famous Writer You've Never Heard Of

Posted: 06 / 13 / 2013
by Michael Stewart
Huffintong Post

When I look over a friend's bookshelf, I look for A Sport and a Pastime, or Light Years, and when I find them there is a sort of secret handshake exchanged. It is like discovering that you have both traveled to a rare and special place--a place that can't help but haunt you. James Salter is the most famous writer that you have never heard of: his sentences are crisp and taut, his endings surprising, sometimes cruel, unforgettable. He recently won the Windham Campbell Award, and in 2012 he received the PEN/Malamud prize.
He is also a former fighter pilot, an epicurean, a traveler, but he is mostly known as a writer's writer, a term he despises.
A couple of weeks ago I met James Salter at Molyvos in New York. He was sitting in the corner booth wearing a dark suit and a dark, oxford shirt. His nails were well manicured; he had the relaxed confidence of a man who is a master of his craft. We talked briefly about his most recent novel, All That Is, some of his past work, and that hated term.

James Salter / Life is Meals

Life is Meals
by James and Kay Salter
OUR HOUSE IN ASPEN, Colorado, dated back to the mining days, and the kitchen was small—about ten feet by twelve—with not much counter space and a worn floor, but it was cozy and comfortable to be in. The dishes were kept in a wooden display case, and the pantry was a shallow closet with no door.

It was in this kitchen that we began cooking together when we moved into the house in about 1976. Neither of us had had much cooking experience, and there was no real decision to do it, it just happened naturally. We cooked side by side or back to back if necessary, following recipes, James Beard’s or Mireille Johnston’s, which were among our early favorites.

James Salter / Novelist

James Salter
James Salter
Wa Liu

At 88, novelist James Salter has written five novels, sixteen screenplays, two short story collections, and a memoir—and as of this week, has received one of the best-funded awards in the literay world, something he likens to a lifetime recognition plaudit. Salter’s Windham-Campbell prize citation states that his “elegantly natural prose has a precision and clarity which make ordinary words swing wide open.” WEEKEND caught up with Salter on Thursday about the award, his writing methods and how many people (hint: none) he’ll show work to before he’s done with it.

Q. Have you enjoyed all of the events surrounding the prize?
A. Well, reading can be pleasant. The audiences were receptive here, and that made it a pleasure.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Grimm / Little Snow-White

Charlize Theron
By Brothers Grimm

Translated by Margaret Hunt

Once upon a time in the middle of winter, when the flakes of snow were falling like feathers from the sky, a queen sat at a window sewing, and the frame of the window was made of black ebony. And whilst she was sewing and looking out of the window at the snow, she pricked her finger with the needle, and three drops of blood fell upon the snow. And the red looked pretty upon the white snow, and she thought to herself, “Would that I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the window-frame.”
Soon after that she had a little daughter, who was as white as snow, and as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony; and she was therefore called Little Snow-white. And when the child was born, the Queen died.

Grimm / Cinderella

By Brothers Grimm

Translated by Margaret Hunt

The wife of a rich man fell sick, and as she felt that her end was drawing near, she called her only daughter to her bedside and said, “Dear child, be good and pious, and then the good God will always protect thee, and I will look down on thee from heaven and be near thee.” Thereupon she closed her eyes and departed. Every day the maiden went out to her mother’s grave, and wept, and she remained pious and good. When winter came the snow spread a white sheet over the grave, and when the spring sun had drawn it off again, the man had taken another wife.