A mesmerising translation from the Italian – ‘Silk’ by Alessandro Baricco, translated by Ann Goldstein. The story of a 19th century French silk worm dealer who travels repeatedly to Japan to secure the supplies of silk worm eggs needed by the silk industry in his village – because many of the European silk worms are diseased.
The fairy tale style of writing is deceptive: the novel becomes highly erotic as it progresses. The depiction of the hero’s long journeys to and fro, and the sense of alienation when he is in the East – as well as the unattainability of the mysterious concubine – give this story a rich texture. The yearning and nostalgia are still with me, a week after I finished reading it.
It’s so important to me to bring the natural world into my writing – but so difficult to put into words what I see. I take photos all the time while I’m out walking the dog, or when we’re away on holiday (eg the pic of the blue sea along the Croatian coast, on my home page!). Then the challenge is to find the words to convey the beauty. How shall I describe the delicacy of the frost on the grass in Bushy Park? I practise and practise…
I came across the Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia last year. His volume of novellas, ‘Sicilian Uncles’ is a highly illuminating picture of Sicilian life before, during and after World War II. Then there are his detective stories: most recently I’ve read ‘To Each His Own’. The tone is richly ironic, and the depiction of the cynicism and corruption in Sicilian – and Italian – society is entertaining, if tragic. Continue reading
Simone and I have been ‘writing friends’ – and good friends – since we met on our Open University writing course.
Follow the link below to rkvry literary magazine which has recently published Simone’s short story ‘The Sequined Shawl’.
I interviewed Simone for rkvry’s blog, and the interview is now up on the website.
A clear sky, even for a few minutes, makes such a difference.
The 7th issue – Journey edition – is out soon, and they are going into print for the first time.
Look at a preview of the magazine on issuu.com, or at WTD’s website, where you can also order a copy. It’s available at Amazon for Kindle, too.
I’m looking forward to seeing ‘Counting Chevrons’ in print!