". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Reading Wednesday

However, due to the Work Trip Travel from Hell, and all the issues, including computer woes, related to that, I've read nothing to speak of since July 10th.

On the 10th I read enough of the historical  "police mystery" novel (Paris, 1870; flashbacks to the War in Algeria, which would have been 1848, which doesn't fit entirely well with the age of the Parisian detectives in 1870), Baudelaire's Revenge. by Dutch novelist, Bob van Laerhoven.  I returned the book to my carry on about 2/3 of the way through, with no intent to finish it. The women are grotesques, who, morally rotten, are rapidly rotting physically. They are fairly implausible characters, though a certain segment of Parisian men such the Goncourt Brothers, and cosmopolitans such as Dickens and his companions, might view women as such surrealist, hyper-active degenerates. This reader, on the other hand, felt in dire need of mental and emotional cleansing. P
articularly this is so, as political, social, cultural and material history all inform us that women, along with children and others without legal identity, were the most powerless members of society. What they did, what they were, were actively determined by men, their poverty and lack of other opportunities.


Such choices on the author's part for female characters make the publisher's choice, to portray on the cover, a figure who resembles so closely the title screens of the televised versions of Agatha Christie's Poirot, figure all the more inexplicable.

There are constant infelicities of translation on nearly every page.

So I've read nothing but that horrid book the entire time, with the exception of re-reading for the firswt time in a long while, some splendid pages of William Faulkner's The Unvanquished -- o, how he plays with time, language and pov!

However, today, not only did the splendid UPS fellow deliver my Tony Lama boots* but serendipitously, two novels were delivered by the equally nice Fed Ex fellow (neither of whom are responsible for what it is that they bring me):

1)  Deborah Harkness's concluding volume, The Book Of Life, of herAll Souls Trilogy;

2)  Joe Abercrombie's Half a King, which is probably only the first installment of a series, and a YA series at that, though there's nothing in jacket copy or pr that says so. The only clue is the text's font size -- much larger than one sees in adult targeted readers.

Again, for this reader, it's more than annoyance when nothing informs me that a book is YA, Romance, self-published or religiously themed -- and by golly, sometimes all of them at the same time!



*  Which, with a few other high points -- all about the work -- made the Texas trip worth doing.

No comments: