Alberto Moravia’s La Noia

My boredom resembles a repeated and mysterious interruption of the electric current inside a house: at one moment everything is clear and obvious- here are armchairs, over there are sofas, beyond our cupboards, side tables, pictures, curtains, carpets, windows, doors; a moment later there is nothing but darkness and an empty void.

Kobayashi Issa & Death

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) along with Basho and Buson, is considered one the greatest Haiku poets of Japan. His most endearing gift was attention to detail, with such intense delicacy and sometimes playfulness, that the ordinary came to transcend its everyday mundaneness. Even though my interest today is in his focus on death, but I will start with the birth of his daughter.

Reading Garcia Lorca in Almeria

Africa was just across the sea, perhaps a few miles due south. We were in a small village, Alfaix, in Almeria. Sadly, there wasn’t any glimpse of Africa. There were no lights shimmering on the ocean surface, speaking to my inner Africa. Nonetheless, North Africans lived here, in Andalusia, for 700 years, before retreating to Fez and Marrakesh.

Houses and Their Noises

All houses or should I say, each house has a particular noise, a kind of signature that is like a finger print identifying and memorialising it. I remember our first night at the Moskva, a modern hotel, in the Soviet style in Moscow, in 1984. Remarkably, it groaned and spluttered at night more or less…