Literature: August 2003 Archives

What Kind of Day Would It Be Without a Quote of Some Sort

And so, for those of you anxiously awaiting it, this from Torgny Lindgren:

"Even the days and moments could be split up and broken down to the size of footsteps, one after another, the various little movements of the fingers, the blinking of the eyelids and the breath of the lungs. Like grinding down time in a hand-mill."

Remarkable, and even more so when one considers that this is a translation from Swedish!

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For Those Who Wish To


For Those Who Wish To Know More

About Torgny Lindgren, here is a brief biography. He is a member of the Swedish academy, and thus eligible to vote on the Nobel Prize. I don't know what it does for to his status for receiving one.

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I will start by pretending that someone out in the world at large is interested. Actually, I get the impression a great many MIGHT be interested, but I think we're at a week of summer vacations. However, it could simply be that everything written in recent days is just cataclysmically boring. If so, my sincere apologies; however, I must say that :

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.


As to Philip Yancey's book--he rounds out his discussion with a review of Henri Nouwen's life and writing. My conversation with the author on this part of the book was sufficiently private that I sha'n't bore you with the details. Suffice to say that I found his portrait profoundly moving--more moving and more profound in many ways than I find the written work of Fr. Nouwen.

I have moved on. I own one other Yancey book that has lain on the shelves gathering dust for lo, these many years. So, I picked it up, and it already has me engaged. Perhaps more on that later.

In addition to another Yancey, I am also reading Torgny Lindgren's Light, a novel about the aftermath of a plague in Sweden that has some gorgeous stuff in it. To wit:

"He was the third to die. He died of plague and knowledge."

"It's not right," said Könik. "Death has lost its senses and its sight and is flailing around blindly."

"They think they're going to save themselves, they think salvation must consist of some sort of deception."

"Könik wanted to make coffins that it would be easy to rise from."

"A lot of them have lain down to rest for a while," said Könik. "But they'll be up again."

"If the Great Sickness came here to Kadis," said Önde, "we'd let it be. We wouldn't disturb it unnecessarily. We never molest any stranger who comes here."

I've read two other Lindgren books Sweetness (yes, so one author has both Sweetness and Light) and one of my favorite books of the last ten or so years The Way of The Serpent--a marvelous very short novel told in a rolling Biblical voice that is just stunning. I've read it twice already and am looking forward to a third and a fourth time. Vivid, powerful, and very mysterious--there are tremendous depths here. If the Nobel Committee didn't have such a powerful political agenda in their selection of writers, I wouldn't be surprised to see Lindgren nominated. He would be the first worthy recipient in some time.

I'm also reading another of my favorite books of all time--a book I have much ado to make any sense of as the "satire" it is supposed to be--Mikhail Bulgakov's magnificent The Master and Margarita. Highly, highly recommended to all. It combines the story of a poet or publisher (I forget which, I haven't gotten that far in the reread yet) who goes to a mental hospital with a retelling of the Passion from Pontius Pilate's point of view. I don't know what to make of it, but it intrigues me constantly.

So much for my reading list. I hope to share with you some of the varied fruits of this labor.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Literature category from August 2003.

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