Uit: Ten Days in the Hills
„Max was still sleeping, neatly, as always, his head framed by the sunny white of his rectangular pillow, his eyelids smooth over the orbs of his eyes, his lips pale and soft, his bare shoulders square on the bed. While Elena was gazing at him, he sighed. Sometime in the night, he had turned back the white comforter; its fold crossed him diagonally between the hip and the knee. The morning sunlight burnished his hands (right on top of left), and sparkled through his silvery chest hair. His cock lay to one side, nonchalant. Elena smoothed the very tips of his chest hair with her hand so that she could just feel it tickling her palm, and then circled his testicles with her index finger. She was sleepy herself, probably from dreaming of the Oscars. What she could remember were more like recurring images of the bright stage as she had seen it from their seats, smiling figures walking around on it, turning this way and that, breasting the audience suddenly as if jumping into surf—not unhappy images, but not restful. The bright figures had stayed with her all night, sometimes actually looking frightened, or turning toward her so that she had to remind herself in her dream that they were happy, well fed, successful.
She sat up quietly, so as not to disturb him. She saw that all of their clothes—his tux and her vintage gold silk-velvet flapper dress—were draped neatly over the backs of a couple of chairs. Her silver sandals and her silver mesh evening bag lay on the windowsill where she had set them when she walked in the bedroom door. He had taken her to the Oscars and then to the Governor’s Ball, because she, of course, had never been, though he himself had an invitation every year—his movie Grace had won Best Screenplay in the 1970s (and in fact was listed on three “hundred best films of the twentieth century” lists that she had looked up on the Internet: seventy-seventh on one, eighty-third on another, and eighty-fifth best on the third). At fifty-eight, Max had a certain sort of fame in Hollywood: most people had heard of him, but lots of younger ones assumed he was dead.“
Jane Smiley (Los Angeles, 26 september 1949)
Uit: Monumental Propaganda (Vertaald door Andrew Bromfield)
“But Bochkareva had misunderstood Aglaya. Her words about filth had indeed been intended in a figurative sense, and not the one in which Bochkareva had taken them.
When she got home, Aglaya was absolutely beside herself. No
, it was not Stalin’s crimes but the criticism of him that was what had astounded her most of all. How dare they? How dare they? She walked around all three rooms of her flat, beating her tough little fists against her tough little hips and repeating aloud the same words, addressed to her invisible opponents, over and over again: “How did you dare? Who do you think you are? Who are you to raise your hand against him?”
“And you, disdainful descendants . . .”—Lermontov’s line, which she thought she had forgotten long ago, came drifting out from some dark corner of her memory . . .
She had never believed in God, but she would not have been surprised in the least if Porosyaninov’s tongue had withered or his nose had fallen off or he had been paralyzed by a stroke in the middle of giving his speech. The words he had uttered in the House of the Railroad Worker had been too absolutely blasphemous.
She had never believed in a God in heaven, but her earthly god was Stalin. His portrait, the famous one with him lighting up his pipe, holding a lighted match close to the slightly singed mustache, had hung over her writing desk since the times before the war, and during the war it had traveled the partisan forest trails with her and then returned to its place. A modest portrait in a simple limewood frame. In moments of doubt over her most startlingly dramatic actions, Aglaya would raise her eyes to the portrait, and Comrade Stalin seemed to screw up his own eyes slightly and urge her on with his kind and wise smile: Yes, Aglaya, you can do that, you must do it, and I believe that you will do it. Yes, she had been forced to make some difficult decisions in her life—harsh, even cruel, decisions concerning various people—but she had done it for the sake of the Party, the country, the people and the future generations. Stalin had taught her that for the sake of the sublime idea it was worth sacrificing everything, and no one could be pitied.
Of course, she respected the other leaders as well, the members of the Politburo and the secretaries of the Central Committee, but nonetheless she thought of them as just people. Very clever and bold, utterly devoted to our ideals, but people. They could make mistakes in their thoughts, words and actions, but only he was ineffably great and infallible, and his every word and every action expressed such transcendent genius that his contemporaries and the generations to come should accept them as unconditionally correct and absolutely binding.”
Vladimir Vojnovitsj (Doesjanbe, 26 september 1932)
Uit: Jagua Nana
„Jagua had just had a cold bath, and, in the manner of African women, she sat on a low stool with a mirror propped between her bare knees, gazing at her wet hair. Only one cloth – a flowered cotton print – concealed her nakedness, and she had wound it over her breasts and under her armpits. Her arms and shoulders were bare, and she sat with the cloth bunched between her thighs so that the mirror bit into the skin between her knees.
She raised her arm and ran the comb through the wiry kinks, and her breasts swelled into a sensuous arc and her eyes tensed with the pain as the kinks straightened. From the skin on her long arms and beautiful shoulders the drops of speckled water slid down chasing one another. She saw Freddie pass by her door just then, saw him hesitate when he caught a glimpse of the dark naked hair under her armpits. Then he hurried past into his own room on the floor below, ca
lling as he went:
‘Jagwa!. … Jagwa Nana!…’
She knew he was teasing. They called her Jagua because of her good looks and stunning fashions. They said she was Ja-gwa, after the famous British prestige car.
‘I’m comin’ – jus’ now!…Call me when you ready!’
She could sense the irritation in his voice. As always when she did not like where they were going she delayed her toilet, and Freddie must know by now that
she disliked intellectual groups, especially the British Council groups which she thought false and stiff. On the other hand, Freddie could never do without them. He said they were a link with Britain from which stemmed so much tradition. Like Freddie she was an Ibo from Eastern Nigeria, but when she spoke to him she always used pidgin English, because living in Lagos City they did not want too many embarrassing reminders of clan or custom. They and many others were practically strangers in a town where all came to make fast money by faster means, and greedily to seek positions that yielded even more money.
She heard the clatter of Freddie’s shoes as he hurried down the steps to his own room on the floor below. She waited for him to come up, and when he would not come she went on combing her hair. By an odd tilt of the mirror she saw, suddenly revealed, the crow’s-feet at the corners of her eyes and the tired dark rings beneath.
‘I done old,’ she sighed. ‘Sometimes I tink say Freddie he run from me because
I done old. God ‘ave mercy!’ she sighed again.“
Cyprian Ekwensi (26 september 1921 – 4 november 2007)
De Oostenrijkse schrijver Peter Turrini werd geboren op 26. September 1944 in St. Margarethen im Lavanttal (Wolfsberg) en groeide op in Maria Saal in Kärnten. Van 1963 tot 1971 had hij verschillende beroepen. Sinds 1971 woont en werkt hij als zelfstandig schrijver in Wenen en Retz. Hij schrijft o.a. theaterstukken, gedichten, essays en draaiboeken. Turrini werd bekend door Rozznjogd (1971), Sauschlachten (1972) en de televisieserie Alpensaga (1974–1979).
Uit: Die Liebe in Madagaskar
Ich habe gehört, die Österreicher essen alle so wahnsinnig gern Mozartkugeln. Stimmt das?
Auch nicht mehr als die Japaner.
Dieser tolle Film, den Sie da drehen, kann man dazu noch etwas sagen, ich meine zum Inhalt?
Der Film? Welcher Film?
Die Liebe in Madagaskar.
Das Drehbuch ist noch nicht ganz fertig.
Wenn der Mann mit der Frau in die Oper geht, und sie ihm nahher sagt, daß
sie krank ist …
Könnte sie diese Krankheit nicht erfunden haben?
Sie möchte das Maß seiner Liebe erkunden. Frauen haben Angst, schreckliche Angst, daß man sie aus irgendwelchen Gründen nicht mehr lieben könnte. Sie brauchen ständig Beweise der Liebe. Auch wenn sie diese bekommen, jeden Tag, sind sie keineswegs zufrieden. Es nährt nur ihre Sehnsucht nach immer häufigeren, immer größeren Beweisen.”
Peter Turrini (St. Margarethen im Lavanttal, 26. September 1944)