08 May 2009

Currently Reading: Naipaul

While browsing the library yesterday, looking for Mahasweta Devi (none), a certain Hélène Cixous (French only) and David Rieff's memoir on his mother Susan Sontag's illness (out), I figured I might as well read some more by V.S. Naipaul. In the collection of essays called Literary Occasions he deals with his first attempts at writing, his fears and embarrassments:
I might adapt Dickens to Trinidad; but it seemed impossible that the life I knew in Trinidad could ever be turned into a book. If landscapes do not start to be real until they have been interpreted by an artist, so, until they have been written about, societies appear to be without shape and embarrassing. It was embarrassing to be reminded by a Dickens illustration of the absurdity of my adaptations; it was equally embarrassing to write of what I saw.

Also picked up Murakami Haruki's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, à propos that great essay on running in Joyce Carol Oates' The Faith of a Writer. I'm planning to make myself start running again by intellectualizing the whole thingy. Wish me luck.

Had a great day at Café Edenborg today, by the way, discussing the 'man and the machine' theme of the upcoming Terminator Salvation movie with Professor D. and then talking some favourites by Jeanette Winterson, P.O. Enquist and Nina Bouraoui with Mr J. That place is usually a lousy environment for me to concentrate on reading (especially by the bar), but who cares when peeps are ready to strike a nice literary pose whenever you're up for it.