Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Evenings now begin to blur into one another. There is a routine of sorts, cups of green tea and long cigarettes, the finishing of a book – remnants of a past life, seen through recollection as daubed in mediocrity. Two evenings and the finishing of two books, neither of which failed to change the way I read, or want to write.

Always with the reading, it must start like this.

Tim Robinson’s The View From The Horizon moves in intense succinct chapters, each a treatise to a followed thought continued to its end. Vignettes on measurement and mapping lie alongside experiments with philosophical space-time and ravaging psychogeographic essayettes. Colour plates provide photographic geometric evidence to support his faultlessly vague anecdotes. A vocabulary fearless sustains throughout. Oh what it must be to write with economy, to say what is there here that is false?

W.G. Sebald’s Vertigo holds a new place for me, the final collusion between travelogue and fiction – I need no more persuasion. The unnerving quality of his prose, the recurring imagery (cadavers beneath cloth), the clash of historicity and dream, all make me want to travel and remember travel.

To new works now, fresh pages. What lies on the shelf? Murakami and Pamuk are old purchases. I have borrowed nothing recently, Robinson aside. In a bookshop today in town, where I took shelter from a threatening grey raincloud, I stumbled across a book by Salvador Plascendia, a fable of 250 pages with blackouts and cut characters (solid black masks certain parts of the text, and certain letters have been omitted). Something about it appealed in the same way that Sebald struck me that day (and another day again - as I was telling a friend about the author in a Brighton bookshop, I lay my hand on a second hand copy of Austerlitz). I left the Plascendia book on the shelf, but tomorrow a return looks likely.