Phantom Days

We reach the absurd through different ways. 

. . . I see the road that passes through the forest, its trees yellowish-brown skeletons, their branches bare and rising willy-nilly towards a sky which is white with heat; the earth as far as you can look is covered with dead leaves. It is a landscape at the end of time. . .

Narrate or Describe?

in narration the writer must move with the greatest deftness between past and present so that the reader may grasp the real causality of the epic events.

From the very beginning, at first without consciously realising, even less formulating it to myself, I came upon the notion that an investigation into this question could unravel for me one of the best techniques of making fiction. Why this was so, I could not say with any certainty, since in any book narration and description can never be, strictly speaking, separated. . .

Sense and Sensibility: On Literary Taste

Art, as everyone knows, is a necessarily subjective business: what is achievement for you, may be middlebrow for me, while what I find absorbing you may not care to read. 

The modern spectacle of literary prizes and festivals— ‘modern’, because the great writers of the past who may now find their names gracing one or another such prize themselves received few in their own time—provoked Ivor Indyk’s recent appeal in the Sydney Review of Books to scrap them altogether, with suggestions on how to use the money to ‘enrich the literary environment, and raise the bar on literary achievement’. . .

A Fine Balance

The scene, there in all its timeless splendor, was already leaving us. The mountains and valleys were exhibiting themselves exactly as before, and yet we felt that they were turning away from us. An invisible yet certain veil was falling over everything that instantly excluded us.

Some months ago, while in India, I went up into the mountains. On a late afternoon, following a walk in the forest, with the day clear and the sun still strong, I came to a café and sat in the open. All around the pines were dark, and there was snow in them, you could see how light tussled to touch the snow that shone very white in the checkered shade. In front, at some distance, stretched from far north down into the east the glacial arc of the Himalayas separating me from Tibet, while to the right, up close, was the snow-covered flank of a forested ridge from where the intermittent cawing of ravens fed and deepened the silence. . .