‘Honeymoon’ by Patrick Modiano is an evocative, melancholic tale, and, at times, it resembles a frame from “film noir” of the 1950s. Modiano presents the lives of the protagonists from the point of an observer, never depicting the reality in a straightforward manner, but rather showing different angles, playing with the memory, the passage of time and changeability of place we used know. The reader must remain focused and to reflect on the past, presence and future to appreciate the full artistry and emotional sensitivity of Modiano’s writing.READ MORE
Melmoth by Sarah Perry is a tale of moral complexity related to the human condition. Perry’s book draws upon Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin written in 1820 which once was a well-read book with a greater significance.
Perry retells the legend of Melmoth, the loneliest being in this world who wanders across the times and places to lure away the ones who committed the acts of an unconceivable cruelty to wander alongside her for eternity. The guilty who are followed by Melmoth must make a choice between being led into the darkness or living with what they have done or what their actions led to.READ MORE
“I would be reading at my desk, something she deemed part and parcel of my job, and considerate as she was, she kept me company but left me undisturbed. We were two solitudes benefiting from a grace that was continuously reinvigorated in each other’s presence, two solitudes who nourished each other.”
“I identify with outsiders, with the alienated or dispossessed. (…) I like men and women who don’t fit well in the dominant culture, or, as Alvaro de Campos calls them, strangers in this place as in every other, accidental in life as in the soul.”read more
“The possibility of an immediate and wholesale decimation of civilization was not half as frightening as the simple realization that our individual passing had no impact on the order of things, and life would go on just the same with or without us.”
“We must do what we can to mend our lives, we owe that to ourselves – but we need to be careful not to break others while achieving that.”read more
Reunion by Fred Uhlman is such a little book, and depending on the edition, over ninety pages long. It is a story about friendship between two young boys, Konrad and Hans, growing up in Germany of the 1930, where a political landscape was changing drastically. Hans was born into an assimilated Jewish family.read more
Books written by James Baldwin have always had a special place in my heart. They helped me to overcome many struggles that I faced as a young immigrant earlier in my life. I cannot express with words how much Baldwin’s writings mean to me. I especially like this quotation below from one of his interviews as it reflects my very own thoughts and it shows one of the reasons why storytelling is so important as a carrier of our shared humanity.read more
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”Mercier, P., Night Train to Lisbon, London: Atlantic Books, 2009
“It is the duty of those who have survived to bear witness to ensure the dead are not forgotten, nor humble acts of self-sacrifice left unacknowledged. (…) I dedicate this book to the MEN AND WOMEN OF GOODWILL who, generously, with unfailing courage, opposed the will to violence and resisted to the end.”
Françoise Frenkel, No Place to Lay One’s Head, 2019, Pushkin Press
If you love literature and, in particular, books by Patrick Modiano, you will love this compelling beautifully written memoir, No Place to Lay One’s Head (Rien ou poser sa tete) by a Polish-Jewish enigmatic writer, Françoise Frenkel (1889-1975) with a preface by Patrick Modiano.read more
“your life is your life‘The Laughing Heart’ by Charles Bukowski
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
“The path of fiction could easily misled you into the cosmos of stories where everything was fluid, quixotic, and as open to surprises as a moonless night in the desert”Shafak, E., The Bastard of Istanbul, Penguin Random House UK, 2015, pp. 96 – 97