Posts Tagged genocide

Books of the Year 2017

These are the books that have made the most impression upon me, that have made me want to read everything by that author, tweet madly about how wonderful they are and press copies upon everyone I know, during 2017.  Many, but not all, appeared during 2016/17.

Earlier this year I undertook a challenge, to read 60 books in 60 days.  Reader, I nailed it.  I also blogged extensively about the books I read and I don’t intend to duplicate those reviews here, though I will list the books that make my ‘best of’ list which were part of that project.  Quite a few, actually.

One of the first books I read in 2017 was Clive James’ Cultural Amnesia. I commented at the time that this was likely to end up being one of my books of the year, and nothing has displaced it.  He made me feel incredibly un-well-read, but without making me feel stupid, rather, inspired to go away and read the stuff he was talking about.  It’s truly wide-ranging – people he loathes as well as people he admires, acerbically funny, which is not always easy to pull off whilst being erudite, and it’s a book that I will go back to again and again for enlightenment, for brilliantly pithy comments, and for the impetus to read stuff that I haven’t yet braved.

clive james

As always, I found myself reading around various aspects of World War II.

Anne Sebba’s Les Parisiennes: how the women of Paris lived, loved and died in the 1940s (2016) is a fascinating account, featuring collaborators and resisters and everyone in between, drawing on some sources that I was familiar with but many more that I wasn’t, and weaving them all into a rich tapestry which shows how life in Occupied Paris was both normal and entirely abnormal at the same time, depending on who and where you were.  I thought often of Michel Butor’s comment, speaking of his own adolescence in the city, that it felt as though nothing was happening but that the nothing was bloody.

sebba

Lara Feigel’s The Bitter Taste of Victory: in the ruins of the Reich (2016) again draws upon contemporary sources (with particular, but not exclusive, emphasis on some of the women writers, reporters and artists – Martha Gellhorn, Rebecca West, Lee Miller, Erika Mann) to paint a vivid picture of the devastation of Berlin and other German cities after the end of the War, and during the Nuremberg trials.  I followed this up with Rebecca West’s near-contemporary first-hand account, A Train of Powder (1955).  Philippe Sands’ East West Street (2016) covered this period too, but from the perspective of those who were developing the definitions of genocide and crimes against humanity which were so crucial to the judgments at Nuremberg and to our response to such crimes in the decades that followed.  What makes his account particularly powerful is that he weaves his own family history into that of the architects of the legislation.  He makes the connection with his grandfather’s home in Lemberg (aka Lwów or L’viv) which was also where Lauterpacht and Lemberg, the two Jewish lawyers who were so instrumental in giving us the legal framework, grew up and were educated – and who are Sands’ own antecedents too, in his life as an international human rights lawyer. Adding to this coincidence, I found myself reading in quick succession two other family histories, that of Eva Hoffman, born in Cracow at the end of the war but whose parents survived the war in the Ukraine, near Lwów (aka L’viv or Lemberg), emigrating post-war from Poland to Vancouver (Lost in Translation: Life in a New Language), and then that of Lisa Appignanesi (Losing the Dead: A Family Memoir), an account of how her parents passed for Aryan in occupied Poland before relocating to Quebec.

Still in WWII but behind the Eastern Front, Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s extraordinary oral history, The Unwomanly Face of War (2017) lets us hear the voices of the women who fought in the Red Army. Rather than the stereotypes perpetuated by Soviet propaganda or the opposing Western propaganda, we meet real women who did extraordinary things, who confronted not only opposing armies but prejudice from their comrades in arms and commanding officers, and from their families at home. And personal conflicts too – these often very young women fell in love, and mourned the loss of their femininity, and feared whether they would find husbands when the fighting was done.  Alexievich’s book first came out in 1985 but has been expanded to bring in more recent interviews, and material from earlier interviews which could not be published previously.

alexievich

And another remarkable and compelling history from David Olusoga – Black & British: a forgotten history (2016).  Alongside bits of history that I was familiar with there’s so much that was new, and ran counter to assumptions that I might have previously made.  It also brought back some very early childhood memories, of visits to the forts on the Ghanaian coast, places where slaves were held before they were loaded into the ships to cross the Atlantic.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Robert Webb’s How not to be a Boy, clearly a response to Caitlin Moran’s wonderful How to be a Woman/How to Build a Girl.   It is extremely funny, and – as with Moran’s books – often very moving as well.

webb boy

Other outstanding non-fiction titles which were part of my 60 books challenge: Aminatta Forna – The Devil that Danced on the Water: A Daughter’s Quest (2003); Noo Saro-wiwa – Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria (2012); David Grann – Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (2017).  

When it comes to fiction I resent categorisations by genre, which always somehow end up marking some things as ‘literature’ and others as ‘crime’ or whatever.  However, given the sheer number of crime/thriller/detective novels that I read, it makes sense to group them together.

New discoveries this year include Ben Aaronovitch’s somewhat bonkers urban fantasy detective novel,  Rivers of London (2011).  This is the start of a series, which I have yet to follow up.

aaronovich

I came across Helen Cadbury’s Sean Denton police procedurals, To Catch a Rabbit (2013) and Bones in the Nest (2015) set in South Yorkshire, gritty and gripping.  I’d only just read them when I heard that she’d died,  an awful loss.  There’s one more Sean Denton novel just out, which I haven’t read yet.

 

I’ve been binging on various series featuring women detectives and as a result I’ve run out of  several of my current favourites:  Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan (Let the Dead Speak, 2017), Susie Steiner’s Manon Bradshaw (latest one is Persons Unknown, 2017),  Sarah Hilary’s Marnie Rome (Quieter than Killing, 2017), and Valentina Giambanco’s Alice Madison (Sweet after Death, 2017). They all feature central women characters who are complicated and interesting, tight plotting, intriguing peripheral characters, and an overall plot arc which, whilst it doesn’t prevent each novel from being freestanding, gives a depth to the series if you read them consecutively.

Fortunately, whilst I wait for Casey, Steiner, Giambanco and Hilary to come up with new titles (no pressure, but do hurry up!), I’ve got lots to read by Elly Griffiths, whose The Crossing Places (2009) and The Janus Stone (2010) features not a woman cop but a forensic archaeologist, Ruth Galloway.  I’m looking forward to the rest of this series.

Noah Hawley was new to me as a novelist, but I’d loved his writing for three TV series of Fargo, full of wit and heart and surprises.  His 2016 novel, Before the Fall lived up to the expectations that Fargo had raised.  It’s a thriller, about truth and lies, fame and reality.

hawley

And a writer new to me but channelling (very convincingly) one of my all-time favourite detective novelists, Dorothy L Sayers.  Four new Lord Peter Wimsey stories from Jill Paton Walsh, a delightful chance to reacquaint myself with Peter and Harriet and Bunter and (oh joy!) the Dowager Duchess, and to see them in the context of world events and radical changes in society.  (Thrones, Dominations (1998)/A Presumption of Death (2002)/The Attenbury Emeralds (2010)/The Late Scholar (2013))

paton walsh

And some fantastic 2017 titles which were part of my 60 books challenge: Sam Bourne – To Kill the PresidentJo Furniss – All the Little ChildrenLesley GlaisterThe Squeeze , Jane Harper – The Dry .

Another terribly sad loss this year was that of Helen Dunmore.  I’ve read most of her work over the years, this year alone I read three (The Lie (2014)/Exposure (2016)/The Betrayal (2010)).  I’m grateful for all the pleasure her books have given me, and that there are a few more for me to look forward to reading, including her final novel, Birdcage Walk.

This was the year I finally finished a ten-year project – to read all of Proust.  In French.  Le Temps retrouvé bit the dust in April, and I blogged about it here. 

temps retrouve

Prompted by my University of Sheffield Book Group, I read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman (2015).

US_cover_of_Go_Set_a_Watchman

I suspect I’m not the only person with a deep fondness for To Kill a Mockingbird, and a tendency to idolise Atticus Finch, who’d kind of been putting this off, having read some of the reviews (and the controversy about whether Lee genuinely wanted this to be published and/or had the capacity to  make that decision).  I’m glad I did read it, but it’s complicated, and I will be pondering more about this separately, because reading it sent me off on so many different trains of thought.

And finally, after reading another alt. US history (Philip Roth’s The Plot against America) I got round to Sinclair Lewis’s account of a demagogue, ‘vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his “ideas” almost idiotic’, who wins the Democratic presidential nomination and then the Presidency.  He wins support despite the vulgarity and the lies and the lack of content in his speeches by addressing the people as if ‘he was telling them the truths, the imperious and dangerous facts, that had been hidden from them.’  And he attacks the Press in very familiar terms:

I know the Press only too well.  Almost all editors hide away . . . plotting how they can put over their lies, and advance their own positions and fill their greedy pocketbooks by calumniating Statesmen who have given their all for the common good.

It is impossible to read It Can’t Happen Here (1935) without seeing the current incumbent of the White House in the place of Buzz Windrip.  In the run-up to his election, the Guardian analysed the similarities, and the Washington Post compared Trump not only to Windrip but to Philip Roth’s Charles Lindbergh.  We are forewarned.

As part of the 60 books challenge, I read more from long-term favourite writers Stevie Davies (Awakening, 2013), Patrick Gale (The Whole Day Through, 2009), Rose Tremain (The Gustav Sonata, 2016) and Livi Michael (Succession, 2014). I’ve already followed up Livi Michael’s excellent Wars of the Roses historical novel with the rest of the trilogy (Rebellion, and Accession).  I finally read The Handmaid’s Tale and The Garden of the Finzi Continis.  I discovered new writers: Sarah Moss, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Per Petterson, and Andrew Michael Hurley,  amongst others.

This represents only a fraction of what I’ve read in 2017. The 60 books are fully documented, and outside of that project I’ve tried to keep a note as I go along, but I know I’ve forgotten some things (maybe justly, maybe not).  And of course this list represents the best of what I’ve read, the stuff that, as I said earlier, I’ve been evangelical about getting other people to read, and have followed up or plan to follow up with more by the same writer.  I have a policy of not mentioning the books I’ve read (completed or abandoned) which I’ve found tedious, or badly written, or just profoundly mediocre (although if I found something I was reading to be pernicious, dangerous, defamatory or whatever, I reserve the right to make a noise about that).  Generally, though, let other pens dwell on clunky dialogue, cardboard characters and so forth – the world is full of books that give pleasure and enlightenment, that inform and move and delight, and I’d rather talk about them.

Meantime, my ‘to read’ pile never seems to diminish, no matter how much and how fast I read.  Priorities include finishing Anthony Beevor’s magisterial The Battle for Spain, which I put to one side during my 60 books challenge, and have not yet resumed, and others which I have still to acquire, Coulson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13, Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir, I am, I am, I am (as well as any of her novels I haven’t read yet), and lots more Ali Smith.  Right, better get back to the books…

 

 

https://cathannabel.blog/2017/08/13/60-books-in-60-days-reading-challenge-days-1-14/

https://cathannabel.blog/2017/08/27/60-books-in-60-days-reading-challenge-days-15-28/

https://cathannabel.blog/2017/09/10/60-books-in-60-days-reading-challenge-days-29-42/

https://cathannabel.blog/2017/09/24/60-books-in-60-days-reading-challenge-days-43-56/

https://cathannabel.blog/2017/09/30/60-books-in-60-days-reading-challenge-completed/

 

 

 

 

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Rwanda: remember – unite – renew

It’s twenty years since we all blinked and failed to notice that hundreds of thousands of people were being hacked to death in a small country in Africa.  Twenty years since we decided that the appropriate response to machete-wielding mobs on the streets, targeting anyone whose ID card gave the wrong ethnic origin, was to withdraw almost all the peace-keeping forces stationed there, and tell the rest they could not intervene.  Twenty years since we waffled and fudged about ‘acts of genocide’ and muddled up Hutus and Tutsis, and showered emergency aid on killers, and muttered about tribalism, and ‘six of one…’.

There are all sorts of excuses.  The failed intervention in Somalia, the joyous distraction of the South African elections (for once, a good news story from Africa), and the general reluctance to commit troops and risk ‘our’ people’s lives in such a messy, chaotic and volatile situation.  But it is inescapable that part of the reason that we didn’t stop it happening was because of where it was happening.  Because, as Francois Mitterand actually said, more or less, in Africa massacres aren’t such a big deal.

In many ways, genocides resemble one another more than they differ from each other. If we discount scale, as we must, since it is the intention to wipe out a race/group/community rather than the numbers involved, or the degree of success in that endeavour that defines genocide, there is a common trajectory that we can trace.  The group marked for destruction must be isolated, vilified, made objects of fear as well as hatred.  They may be identified as less than human – vermin, lice, cockroaches – since no one baulks at the death of such creatures.  They must be classified, marked, labelled, listed, so that they can be tracked down.  And once the killing starts, for the group marked for destruction there is the desperate search for safety, for shelter and protection, the knowledge that each person you encounter may denounce or protect you.   Not only that, but the threat to those who did try to help that they too, and their families, would die if they were exposed.   In fact, merely refraining from murder may be an act of resistance likely to be punished with death.

There are things about Rwanda however, that are different.  Firstly, the sheer speed of the events that engulfed that small country in Africa is staggering. There had been decades of sporadic massacres, which is why a Tutsi rebel army, composed mainly of refugees and children of refugees, was in the process of invading the country.  And preparations had certainly been laid well in advance, lists drawn up and machetes stockpiled.  But still, from the trigger of the shooting down of the President’s plane to the RPF victory only four months elapsed.  Four months, and 800,000 people dead.  Many more maimed, raped, traumatised, orphaned.  So much destruction in such a short time.  A tsunami of brutality, when everything was irrevocably changed in moments.

There was no great machinery of bureaucracy to process the destruction of the Tutsi, who were killed, for the most part, by their own neighbours, or by the militia on the roadblocks who simply needed to ask for their ID to know whether they should die.  There were no camps set up to process those captured and marked for death, just places where people sought refuge and instead found that their hoped-for sanctuary was in fact a trap where the killers waited until they were gathered together, before sweeping in to destroy.  There was not even the pretence of any fate for the Tutsi other than death.

And because of the speed, and because the victims, like their murderers, were in many cases rural people, not highly educated and literate, and if they hid it was in the bush, there is no Anne Frank, no Helene Berr from Rwanda, both murdered, but who left records of what it was like to have to hide, to live in fear, to be marked for death.  The narratives of Rwanda are those of the survivors.  Whole clans were wiped out, so that now it is as if, as a survivor put it, a page in the album of humanity has been torn out, and of many of those families and individuals there may be virtually no trace remaining.  After all, that’s what genocide aims to do. It’s never enough to kill all the people, you have to kill their history, their culture.

But that’s one of the odd things about the Rwandan genocide.  The Hutu and Tutsi peoples were not distinguishable from each other by a language – even an accent – or a religion.  They were – supposedly – different in physique, but in reality decades of intermarriage meant that one could not actually identify anyone reliably in this way.   The mythology of their enmity was fostered by successive colonial governments, who favoured first one group and then the other, exploiting the tensions that this created.  The different names existed, certainly, but the identities were not fixed.  Because Hutu and Tutsi were associated with different modes of life, if your circumstances or occupation changed, your ‘ethnic’ identity could change too.  It was the colonial governments who put in place the system of identity cards that stated which group one belonged to, and made that identity fixed and inescapable.

Many, many ordinary people did extraordinary things to protect friends, neighbours or total strangers.  And many of those who were there in an official capacity broke ranks to do what they could.  Major Stefan Stec, with the UN Peacekeepers, faced down militia at the Hotel Mille Collines, attempting to evacuate some of the many Tutsi and moderate Hutu who had taken refuge there.  He was so tormented by the events he witnessed, by his own sense of failure, and by the harsh judgement of many who weren’t there and had no choices to make, on the inadequacy of the UNAMIR response, that he died eleven years later, as a result of PTSD. Romeo Dallaire, who commanded those forces, suffers similarly, and attempted suicide six years after the genocide.  And Mbaye Diagne, a Senegalese UN military observer, ferried people through roadblocks to the Mille Collines, bluffing and bribing his way past the militia until he was killed in a mortar attack in May 1994.

Yolande Mukagasana’s world changed on 6 April 1994.  Within days she had seen her husband killed.  She had lost contact with her children.  She had come close to death, and had seen people who she, as a nurse, had healed, ready to kill her or hand her over to be killed.  She also encountered people who owed her nothing and yet who kept her safe, just because it was the right thing to do.  She was tormented first by not knowing her children’s fate, and then by knowing it.   Once safe, she threw herself into her old role of healer, but her own healing took a long time – to the simple guilt of having survived when so many didn’t, she added the guilt of having survived when her own children didn’t, and of knowing that others had died for refusing to hand her over, or because they were mistaken for her.   She drew orphaned and lost children to her, and started an organisation called Nyamirambo Point d’appui, named after the area of Kigali where she lived with her family, and where she saw her neighbours become murderers.  She started to rebuild, there, where she’d lost everything.

Yolande writes ‘contre l’oubli’, so that the dead aren’t entirely lost, so that the truth isn’t buried with them.  And that includes uncomfortable truths about the role of international bodies, and most particularly of the French government, both actively and passively enabling the genocide.

But this duty of memory is not just for the past, but for the future.  Surely if we remember what happened twenty years ago in that small African country, as we remember what happened over seventy years ago in Nazi occupied Europe, what happened almost forty years ago in Cambodia, we will see the signs next time before it’s too late?  We will make the right choice about whether and when to intervene?

Surely?

 

http://www.jmv.hollowtomato.com/jmv/archivesjmv/Mukagasana.pdf

http://aflit.arts.uwa.edu.au/AMINAMukagasana.html

Yolande Mukagasana – N’aie pas peur de savoir (Robert Laffont, 1999)

Rwanda pour memoire, Samba Felix N’Diaye (L’Afrique se filme, DVD, 2001-2003)

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/04/20-years-genocide-rwanda-central-african-republic

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2014/newsspec_6954/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqueline_Mukansonera

http://www.freemedia.at/awards/andre-sibomana.html

http://voicesofrwanda.org/

http://www.hmd.org.uk/news/remembering-rwanda-%E2%80%93-20-years

http://www.kwibuka.rw/

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2012

When I was 9 years old, my family lived in Zaria, in Northern Nigeria.   It was 1966, and a series of coups d’etat were hiking up tensions between the north and south, tensions which in May and September of that year resulted in mobs seeking out and killing on the streets, in the schools and hospitals and churches, anyone recognised as being of Igbo origin.   I don’t know how many died.   Probably no one does.   Because of the civil war that followed, the pogroms in the north have received little attention – though Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her stunning novel Half of  a Yellow Sun portrayed these events incredibly powerfully.  I was a child, and my parents protected me and my younger siblings from the horror of what was happening.   But even as a child I heard and saw enough – even when the adult conversations stopped abruptly in my presence – to be haunted by what I’d half overheard, seen out of the corner of my eye.  I’ve needed to try to understand what happened, not just in Northern Nigeria in 1966, but whenever an attempt is made to wipe a group of people from the face of the earth.

We’re told that we must remember the past in order not to relive it.  It’s a lot more complicated than that of course.  In order not to relive it we’d have to understand it.   Memories aren’t necessarily trustworthy – after the Liberation, Michel Butor has spoken of how his parent’s generation said of the years of occupation, 1939-1945 was a nightmare, but it’s over, so we’ll forget all of that and pick up where we left off.  His generation of writers has been preoccupied with memory, and how we revisit,  rework and reshape as we try to master the past.   The simple imperative to remember would seem to have done us little good in the generations since Auschwitz.   It didn’t stop, or even slow down, the slaughter in Rwanda, the massacres in Srebenica, decades of pogroms in Nigeria, the devastation in Darfur, the killings in Cambodia.  But remember we must.  The important thing is that we remember right, and we remember well.

I’m reminded, oddly perhaps in this context, of a song from South Pacific: ‘You’ve got to be taught To hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught from year to year.  It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You’ve got to be carefully taught.’  Frances McDormand’s character in Mississippi Burning echoes these words very closely: ‘Hatred isn’t something you’re born with. It gets taught. At school, they said segregation is what’s said in the Bible…  At 7 years of age, you get told it enough times, you believe it. You believe the hatred. You live it… you breathe it. You marry it.’   And so we need to teach the opposite, for the sake of the future.

And for the sake of the past.  The perpetrators of genocide don’t start by taking lives.  First they take everything else – name, livelihood, home, dignity, humanity.  For it to be possible for society to collude in this, the victims have to become less than human – cockroaches, perhaps, or lice.   Or less, even, than that – one of the most powerful Holocaust documents  is a memo, addressing technical problems with vehicle stability.  As one reads it, it takes a while before the nature of the destabilising ‘load’ becomes apparent: this load has a tendency to rush towards the light, which causes problems in getting the doors closed.  This load may also scream.

And so, for the sake of the past, we need to give back to the victims of genocide what we can – their names, their stories, their voices.   Serge Klarsfeld reconstructed the convoy lists from the French internment camps and gave the people once herded onto cattle trucks a name, an address, sometimes a photograph, a letter.   The photographs of the children – see them if you can bear it, and I think one has to bear it – in their best clothes or on summer holidays, looking solemn or smiling for the camera, tell you everything, in a way, about genocide.  Sheffield’s wonderful Ensemble 360 performed music last spring by composers who were imprisoned at Terezin –  music created in the midst of a nightmare, by composers who had barely begun to achieve their potential before they were silenced.

Hélène Berr is one of the people I will be thinking of on Holocaust Memorial Day.   She was 20 when Paris was occupied, from a thoroughly assimilated French Jewish family, a student at the Sorbonne.   She was 21 when she started the journal in which, at first, the war and the Nazi persecution are almost background noise.  She was almost 23 when she was arrested, a few months before Paris was liberated, and then deported to Auschwitz on one of the convoys from Drancy.   It was her 23rd birthday when she was moved from Auschwitz to Bergen Belsen.   She was 24 when she died, in Bergen Belsen, 5 days before the camp was liberated.    Her journal, kept by surviving members of her family after the war, was finally published in 2008 and when I read it I loved her, and I grieved for the fate I already knew would be hers.   Another voice that wasn’t quite silenced, after all.

http://www.memorialdelashoah.org/upload/minisites/helene_berr/index.html

Hélène Berr,  Journal, 1942-1944 (Paris: Éditions Tallandier, 2008)

http://gideonklein.cz/fruvod.htm

Les 11400 enfants Juifs deportés de france (Mairie de Paris, 2007)

http://www.holocaust-history.org/klarsfeld/French%20Children/html&graphics/T0423.shtml

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (Harper, 2007)

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Manifesto/Introduction

My probably infrequent entries to this blog will, I anticipate, fall into three categories, potentially overlapping.  Firstly, the work of Michel Butor, nouveau romancier, far less well known than he deserves, one of the most fascinating writers of the postwar era, and all of whose works are rich in allusion and reflection, ideas and passion, intellect and humanity.  Secondly, I’ll occasionally write about what other things I’m reading (currently Proust and Stephen King), listening to or watching.  And there may be events, anniversaries, and other sources of inspiration that prompt an entry from time to time.

I’m an administrator at the University of Sheffield, where I’m also a part-time student, studying French Language & Cultures for my second undergraduate degree (the first, in English & Biblical Studies, was also with Sheffield, many decades ago).   I grew up in West Africa, an experience which has been hugely influential on me, and which can be evidenced not only in my enthusiastic support for Ghana’s national football team (in contrast to my despairing loyalty to Nottingham Forest), but also in my interest in postcolonial African history and, because I lived in Northern Nigeria during the bloody preamble to the Civil War, in genocide and xenophobia wherever they manifest themselves.    Alongside my work, and my studies, and my family life, I am passionate about music, literature and visual art.

Postscript

My entries to this blog have proved to be more frequent than I had anticipated.  And the topics I’m covering have shifted too.  I completed the degree referred to above, and am now a part-time PhD student, doing research on Michel Butor and W G Sebald, and that is absorbing all of my writing/thinking energy on those topics.  What I’m reading, listening to or watching does inform my blogging, as do events and anniversaries.  But if a theme has emerged over the years it has been more political than I anticipated with a strong focus, not just during Refugee Week, on the plight of those who flee war zones and persecution, and how we respond to their need for sanctuary.   I retired from my post at the University of Sheffield at the end of 2015 and hope to have more time to think and write, some of the output of which may end up here. You have been warned.

PPS

Anyone interested in finding out more about Butor – and it would delight me enormously if anyone was inspired to read him by this blog – should start with the novels, which is fine if you read French, a tad more tricky if not, as the English translations are not easy to track down, or rather expensive if you do.  I’ll give details of both editions, where possible:

Passage de Milan (Paris: Minuit, 1954)

L’Emploi du Temps (Paris: Minuit, 1956)/ Passing Time

La Modification (Paris: Minuit, 1957)/ A Change of Heart or Second Thoughts

Degrés (Paris: Gallimard, 1960)/ Degrees

Mobile: étude pour une représentation des États-Unis (Paris: Gallimard, 1962) / Mobile

Portrait de l’artiste en jeune singe: capriccio (Paris: Gallimard, 1967) / Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ape

Anthologie nomade (Paris: Gallimard, 2004)

 

 

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