n i g h t i n g a l e s h i r a z / blog
Scala Maggiore

june 2023
january 2023
december 2022
september 2022
august 2022
july 2022
january 2022
november 2021
october 2021
september 2021
august 2021
july 2021
june 2021
may 2021
april 2021
march 2021
february 2021
january 2021
september 2020
august 2020
july 2020
may 2020
april 2020
march 2020
february 2020
december 2019
october 2019
july 2019
june 2019
may 2019
april 2019
march 2019
february 2019
january 2019
december 2018
november 2018
october 2018
september 2018
august 2018
july 2018
june 2018
may 2018
april 2018
march 2018
february 2018
january 2018
december 2017
november 2017
october 2017
september 2017
august 2017
july 2017
june 2017
march 2017
february 2017
january 2017
november 2016
october 2016
september 2016
august 2016
july 2016
june 2016
may 2016
april 2016
march 2016
february 2016
december 2015
november 2015
october 2015
september 2015
may 2015
march 2015
february 2015
january 2015
december 2014
november 2014
october 2014
september 2014
august 2014
may 2014
april 2014
march 2014
february 2014
*april 2013
*march 2013
*february 2013
*january 2013
*december 2012
*november 2012
*october 2012
*september 2012
*july 2012
*october 2011
*september 2011
*august 2011
*july 2011
*june 2011
*may 2011
april 2011
march 2011
april 2010
march 2010
february 2010
january 2010
december 2009
november 2009
september 2009
june 2009
may 2009
february 2009
january 2009
december 2008
october 2008
september 2008
august 2008
july 2008
june 2008
may 2008
april 2008
january 2008
december 2007
november 2007
october 2007
september 2007
august 2007
july 2007
june 2007
may 2007
april 2007
march 2007
february 2007
january 2007
december 2006
november 2006
october 2006
september 2006
august 2006
july 2006
june 2006
may 2006
april 2006
march 2006
february 2006
january 2006
december 2005
november 2005
october 2005
september 2005
august 2005
july 2005
june 2005
may 2005
april 2005
march 2005
february 2005
january 2005
december 2004
november 2004
october 2004
september 2004
august 2004
july 2004
june 2004
may 2004
april 2004
march 2004
february 2004
january 2004
december 2003
june 2003
april 2003
march 2003
Nine-eleven or not

On (and from and for) Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann.


In the first chapter (and only, really, on your second reading) do you feel it:

"Those who saw him hushed.  On Church Street.  Liberty.  Cortlandt.  West Street.  Fulton.  Vesey. [...] Some thought at first that it must have been a trick of the light [...] it might be the perfect city joke... [...] people gathered, tilted their heads, [...] until all were staring upward at nothing at all."

Namedropping.  Foreshadowing.  Can you foreshadow something, when what really happens, is that later, that something is no longer there to block out the sun? No longer there to cast a shadow? Fore, ever, after.

He is careful in that first morningís description of the city -- car horns, garbage trucks, ferry whistles and fire hydrants -- even the M22 bus and the Woolworth Building -- he is careful not to let anything give away the fact that this is 1974, and not a Tuesday morning ten years ago.


Talking about fear, in New York City in 1974:

"ĎBits of it floating in the air,í he said.  ĎItís like dust.  You walk about and donít see it, donít notice it, but itís there and itís all coming down, covering everything.  Youíre breathing it in.í


The city as art (the city as other things):

"But what is it about the notion that she doesnít like? Amazing, indeed, yes.  And an attempt at beauty.  The intersection of a man with the city, the abruptly reformed, the newly appropriated public space, the city as art.  Walk up there and make it new.  Making it a different space.  But something else in it still rankles.  She wishes not to feel this way [...] why shouldnít every man in the air appear to be her son?"


In the early part of the book there is a line about freedom.  Ciaran is waiting for Corrigan -- his brother -- to react.  He has just Ďturned on himí about his life and what he (Ciaran) thinks of it:

"I kept waiting for him to give me some sort of bitter benediction -- something about being weak towards the strengthless, strong against the powerful, there is no peace save in Jesus, freedom is given, not received, some catch-all to soothe me, but instead he let it all wash over him."

...and then Claire, thinking about Joshua and the war he died in:

"All this talk of freedom.  Nonsense, really.  Freedom canít be given, it must be received."


"I will not take this jar of ashes."

"This is not my life.  These are not my cobwebs.  This is not the darkness I was designed for."


And then, nine-eleven or not.  There are some lovely lines.

"I can still after all these years sit in the museum of those afternoons and recall the light spilling across the carpet." I love the idea of that museum of afternoons.  I love that this sentence needed no punctuation.

Later on, he talks about "a September day when everything seemed split open with sunlight..." Again, you can see it above you.  But itís not that day.

"Thatís what I like about God.  You get to know Him by His occasional absence."

In the playground at St. Maryís: The men sat rooted like Larkin poems."

The day of the funeral.  Ciaranís memory of wheeling the piano out into the street along the seafront in Dublin.  The way his story, the image, swirls downward and away and leaves the present: "now, today, and forever, his dead brother nowhere to be found."

And maybe my favorite of the whole book:

He let the pieces of the napkin flutter to the floor and said something strange about words being good for saying what things are, but sometimes they donít function for what things arenít.  He looked away.


Carlotta recommended this book to me -- a little yellow sticky on the front cover says in red felt-tip: "Read me! (Please)" -- and I can see why she loves it.  Carlotta who wants to go on another road trip soon, so we can play her favorite game from childhood: "You take turns making up stories about the people in the cars, imagining their lives."

I can see why she loved this book.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[domenica 11 settembre 2011 ore 20:40:08] []