Reading dates: 28 December 2014–17 May 2015
Don’t be fooled by the amount of time it took me to read this book. I loved it and I think it is a masterpiece. I savoured every intricate moment of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald told through the impeccable prose of Delillo. I wish this is how history was told. The book shows a lot of research. Invention too, for it is a work of fiction. Like when I read La Fiesta del Chivo, I was amazed at how accurate the account is, how much factual checking has gone into this work. Yet, I did not give it five stars because my criterion for that is whether I would re-read, and I am not sure I could go through the paranoiac roller coaster of Libra again. Whereas Vargas Llosa’s account of assassination is heart-wrenching but somewhat removed, Delillo is an expert at the psychological and, at times, I felt so involved I had to pinch myself to remember that it was only a book. I could not always read it before bed because it would play tricks on my dreams. This is precisely the power that makes it so accomplished and unique. It is definitely a reading experience, a good insight into conspiracies and the American mind and a beautiful historical account of a troubled time, culminating in a couple of bizarre days that changed the world. Can you imagine what it must have been like to live the events of 22–24 November 1963?
Don’t Say Anything, a durational performance piece as part of the exhibition ‘This House has been Far Out at Sea’, Laurieston Arches, Glasgow. 2-4 May 2015, 12–6 with a late night on Sunday.
I will return to Frau Emmy von N. the words Sigmund Freud wrote in his famous case history about her. She will tell you her story of hysteria in the first person, just as Emmy would have told it to Freud in 1889.
As part of Glasgow Open House Festival.
Reading dates: 14 January – 29 April 2014
We read a poem a night, both in the original Spanish and the English translation. Returning to my mother tongue, to moving specific muscles in the mouth to make familiar noises was comforting; hearing Neil try those same positions was rewarding, beautiful, memorable. I am not sure about the poems themselves. It might have been the selection but they seemed pretty limiting in terms of themes. Yet, there were some gems, of course, in particular those works referring to the sea. These are the poems of another time and another history and some times they felt very distant. A continent away, a lifetime away. Perhaps the language helped that remote quality. When did my mother tongue stop being my mother tongue; when did I become independent from my first language? It was beautiful to read, but with the qualities of returning home for Christmas, finding the quirks of the place you grew up in amusing only because you know you will leave it after boxing day. It is a necessary place, one that allows you to be who you are but is behind you. That’s what I felt with Neruda’s work. He was a favourite of mine during my teenage years and he continues to be there then, but not now. I wonder if the same would happen with Pedro Salinas, Miguel Hernández, Mario Benedetti and Gloria Fuertes if I shared them with Neil.