Julian Barnes, Bert Natter, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith

De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook alle tags voor Julian Barnes op dit blog.

Uit: The Noise of Time

“And so, it had all begun, very precisely, on the morning of the 28th of January 1936, in Arkhangelsk. He had been invited to perform his first piano concerto with the local orchestra under Viktor Kubatsky; the two of them had also played his new cello sonata. It had gone well. The next morning he went to the railway station to buy a copy of Pravda. He had looked at the front page briefly, then turned to the next two. It was, as he would later put it, the most memorable day of his life. And a date he chose to mark each year until his death.
Except that—as his mind obstinately argued back—nothing ever begins as precisely as that. It began in different places, and in different minds. The true starting point might have been his own fame. Or his opera. Or it might have been Stalin, who, being infallible, was therefore responsible for everything. Or it could have been caused by something as simple as the layout of an orchestra. Indeed, that might finally be the best way of looking at it: a composer first denounced and humiliated, later arrested and shot, all because of the layout of an orchestra.
If it all began elsewhere, and in the minds of others, then perhaps he could blame Shakespeare, for having written Macbeth. Or Leskov for Russifying it into Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. No, none of that. It was, self-evidently, his own fault for having written the piece that offended. It was his opera’s fault for being such a success—at home and abroad—it had aroused the curiosity of the Kremlin. It was Stalin’s fault because he would have inspired and approved the Pravda editorial—perhaps even written it himself: there were enough grammatical errors to suggest the pen of one whose mistakes could never be corrected. It was also Stalin’s fault for imagining himself a patron and connoisseur of the arts in the first place. He was known never to miss a performance of Boris Godunov at the Bolshoi. He was almost as keen on Prince Igor and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko. Why should Stalin not want to hear this acclaimed new opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk?
And so, the composer was instructed to attend a performance of his own work on the 26th of January 1936. Comrade Stalin would be there; also Comrades Molotov, Mikoyan and Zhdanov. They took their places in the government box. Which had the misfortune to be situated immediately above the percussion and the brass. Sections which in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk were not scored to behave in a modest and self-effacing fashion.
He remembered looking across from the director’s box, where he was seated, to the government box. Stalin was hidden behind a small curtain, an absent presence to whom the other distinguished comrades would sycophantically turn, knowing that they were themselves observed.”


Julian Barnes (Leicester, 19 januari 1946)

 

De Nederlandse schrijver, uitgever en journalist Bert Natter werd geboren in Baarn op 19 januari 1968. Zie ook alle tags voor Bert Natter op dit blog.

Uit: Hoe staat het met de liefde?

“Begin opnieuw. Steek de sleutel in het slot. Open de voordeur.
Ga het halletje binnen. Vermoed niets. Hoor buiten het geronk van de bus wegsterven. Luister niet naar het gebonk binnen.
Geniet van het onverwachte vrije uur. Voel hoe lekker behaaglijk het is.
Ga verder. Sluit de deur. Stamp op de mat. Gooi die kapotte schooltas onder de kapstok. Doe die wanten uit. En die muts af. Vergeet school, vergeet de kou. Verlies nooit deze onschuld. Trek uit die dikke winterjas.
Duw tegen de deur naar de gang. Baal ervan dat die klemt. Blijf in het halletje staan.
Bedenk wie hier achter zit. Duw nog eens. Sla op de deur. Roep. Schop tegen de deur. Scheld en vloek.
Laat ook maar.
Ga zonder jas, zonder wanten en zonder muts de kou in. Trek de deur in het slot.
Kijk niet naar de overkant van het kruispunt. Weiger daarheen te gaan. Kruip daar niet weg.
Loop om door het gangetje.
Zucht diep.
Hoop dat alles goed komt.
Zie dat aan het huis niets te zien is.
Sta in de tuin. Probeer te glimlachen om de inzakkende sneeuwpop. De fietspomp in zijn hoofd. Goed idee van pap. Denk aan mooie momenten. Bewaar herinneringen. Koester alles wat gebeurde tot wat straks gebeurt.”


Bert Natter (Baarn, 19 januari 1968)

 

De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Edgar Allen Poe werd geboren op 19 januari 1809 in Boston. Zie ook alle tags voor Edgar Allen Poe op dit blog

Uit: The Devil in the Belfry

“Everybody knows, in a general way, that the finest place in the world is–or, alas, was–the Dutch borough of Vondervotteimittiss. Yet as it lies some distance from any of the main roads, being in a somewhat out-of-the-way situation, there are perhaps very few of my readers who have ever paid it a visit. For the benefit of those who have not, therefore, it will be only proper that I should enter into some account of it. And this is indeed the more necessary, as with the hope of enlisting public sympathy in behalf of the inhabitants, I design here to give a history of the calamitous events which have so lately occurred within its limits. No one who knows me will doubt that the duty thus self-imposed will be executed to the best of my ability, with all that rigid impartiality, all that cautious examination into facts, and diligent collation of authorities, which should ever distinguish him who aspires to the title of historian.
By the united aid of medals, manuscripts, and inscriptions, I am enabled to say, positively, that the borough of Vondervotteimittiss has existed, from its origin, in precisely the same condition which it at present preserves. Of the date of this origin, however, I grieve that I can only speak with that species of indefinite definiteness which mathematicians are, at times, forced to put up with in certain algebraic formulae. The date, I may thus say, in regard to the remoteness of its antiquity, cannot be less than any assignable quantity whatsoever.
Touching the derivation of the name Vondervotteimittiss, I confess myself, with sorrow, equally at fault. Among a multitude of opinions upon this delicate point–some acute, some learned, some sufficiently the reverse–I am able to select nothing which ought to be considered satisfactory. Perhaps the idea of Grogswigg–nearly coincident with that of Kroutaplenttey–is to be cautiously preferred.–It runs:- “Vondervotteimittis- Vonder, lege Donder- Votteimittis, quasi und Bleitziz- Bleitziz obsol:- pro Blitzen.” This derivative, to say the truth, is still countenanced by some traces of the electric fluid evident on the summit of the steeple of the House of the Town-Council. I do not choose, however, to commit myself on a theme of such importance, and must refer the reader desirous of information to the “Oratiunculae de Rebus Praeter-Veteris,” of Dundergutz. See, also, Blunderbuzzard “De Derivationibus,” pp. 27 to 5010, Folio, Gothic edit., Red and Black character, Catch-word and No Cypher; wherein consult, also, marginal notes in the autograph of Stuffundpuff, with the Sub-Commentaries of Gruntundguzzell.
Notwithstanding the obscurity which thus envelops the date of the foundation of Vondervotteimittis, and the derivation of its name, there can be no doubt, as I said before, that it has always existed as we find it at this epoch. The oldest man in the borough can remember not the slightest difference in the appearance of any portion of it; and, indeed, the very suggestion of such a possibility is considered an insult. The site of the village is in a perfectly circular valley, about a quarter of a mile in circumference, and entirely surrounded by gentle hills, over whose summit the people have never yet ventured to pass. For this they assign the very good reason that they do not believe there is anything at all on the other side.”


Edgar Allen Poe (19 januari 1809 – 7 oktober 1849) 
Cover

 

De Amerikaanse dichteres en schrijfster Edwidge Danticat werd geboren in Port-au-Prince op Haïti op 19 januari 1969. Zie ook alle tags voor Edwidge Danticat op dit blog.

Boat People

We are all in a drowning boat
Happened before at St. Domingue
We are the ones called boat people

We all died long ago
What else can frighten us ?
Let them call us boat people

We fight a long time with poverty
On our islands, the sea, everywhere
We never say we are not boat people

In Africa they chased us with dogs
Chained our feet, piled us on
Who then called us boat people?

Half the cargo perished
The rest sold at Bossal Market
It’s them who call us boat people

We stamp our feet down, the earth shakes
Up to Louisiana, down to Venezuela
Who would come and call us boat people?

A bad season in our country
The hungry dog eats thorns
They didn’t call us boat people yet

We looked for jobs and freedom
And they piled us on again: Cargo—Direct to Miami
They start to call us boat people

We run from the rain at Fort Dimanche
But land in the river at the Krome Detention Center
It’s them who call us boat people

Miami heat eats away our hearts
Chicago cold explodes our stomach
Boat people boat people boat people

Except for the Indians—
What American didn’t get here somehow
But they only want to call us boat people

We don’t bring drugs in our bags
But courage and strength to work
Boat people—Yes, that’s all right, boat people

We don’t come to make trouble
We come with all respect
It’s them who call us boat people

We have no need to yell or scream
But all boat people are equal, the same
All boat people are boat people

One day we’ll stand up, put down our feet
As we did at St. Domingue
They’ll know who these boat people really are

That day, be it Christopher Columbus
Or Henry Kissinger—
They will know us
We who simply call ourselves
People

 
Edwidge Danticat (Port-au-Prince, 19 januari 1969)

 

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Patricia Highsmith werd geboren als Mary Patricia Plangman in Fort Worth (Texas) op 19 januari 1921. Zie ook alle tags voor Patricia Highsmith op dit blog.

Uit:Sauce For The Goose

“The incident in the garage was the third near-catastrophe in the Amory household, and it put a horrible thought into Loren Amory’s head: his darling wife Olivia was trying to kill herself. Loren had pulled at a plastic clothesline dangling from a high shelf in the garage — his idea had been to tidy up, to coil the clothesline properly — and at that first tug an avalanche of suitcases, an old lawnmower, and a sewing machine weighing God-knows-how-much crashed down on the spot that he barely had time to leap from. Loren walked slowly back to the house, his heart pounding at his awful discovery. He entered the kitchen and made his way to the stairs. Olivia was in bed, propped against pillows, a magazine in her lap. ‘What was that terrible noise, dear?’ Loren cleared his throat and settled his black-rimmed glasses more firmly on his nose. ‘A lot of stuff in the garage. I pulled just a little bit on a clothesline —’ He explained what had happened. She blinked calmly as if to say, ‘Well, so what? Things like that do happen.’ `Have you been up to that shelf for anything lately?’ `Why, no. Why?’ `Because — well, everything was just poised to fall, darling.’ `Are you blaming me?’ she asked in a small voice. `Blaming your carelessness, yes. I arranged those suitcases up there and I’d never have put them so they’d fall at a mere touch. And I didn’t put the sewing machine on top of the heap. Now, I’m not saying —’ ‘Blaming my carelessness,’ she repeated, affronted. He knelt quickly beside the bed. ‘Darling, let’s not hide things any more. Last week there was the carpet sweeper on the cellar stairs. And that ladder! You were going to climb it to knock down that wasps’ nest! What I’m getting at, darling, is that you want something to happen to you, whether you realize it or not. You’ve got to be more careful, Olivia — Oh, darling, please don’t cry. I’m trying to help you. I’m not criticizing.’ ‘I know, Loren. You’re good. But my life — it doesn’t seem worth living any more, I suppose. I don’t mean I’m trying to end my life, but —’ ‘You’re still thinking — of Stephen?’ Loren hated the name and hated saying it. She took her hands down from her pinkened eyes. ‘You made me promise you not to think of him, so I haven’t. I swear it, Loren.’ ‘Good, darling. That’s my little girl.’ He took her hands in his. ‘What do you say to a cruise soon? Maybe in February? Myers is coming back from the coast and he can take over for me for a couple of weeks.”


Patricia Highsmith (19 januari 1921 – 4 februari 1995)

 

Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 19e januari ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.

 

Julian Barnes, Bert Natter, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade, Thomas Gsella

De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook alle tags voor Julian Barnes op dit blog.

Uit: Nothing to Be Frightened Of

“The change from teeth to dentures struck my brother and me as both grave and ribald. But my grandmother’s life had contained another enormous change, never alluded to in her presence. Nellie Louisa Machin, daughter of a labourer in a chemical works, had been brought up a Methodist; while the Scoltocks were Church of England. At some point in her young adulthood, my grandmother had suddenly lost her faith and, in the smooth narration of family lore, found a replacement: socialism. I have no idea how strong her religious faith had been, or what her family’s politics were; all I know is that she once stood for the local council as a socialist and was defeated. By the time I knew her, in the 1950s, she had progressed to being a communist. She must have been one of the few old-age pensioners in suburban Buckinghamshire who took the Daily Worker and—so my brother and I insisted to one another—fiddled the housekeeping to send donations to the newspaper’s Fighting Fund.
In the late 1950s, the Sino-Soviet Schism took place, and com-munists worldwide were obliged to choose between Moscow and Peking. For most of the European faithful, this was not a difficult decision; nor was it for the Daily Worker, which received funding as well as directives from Moscow. My grandmother, who had never been abroad in her life, who lived in genteel bungalowdom, decided for undisclosed reasons to throw in her lot with the Chinese. I welcomed this mysterious decision with blunt selfinterest, since her Worker was now supplemented by China Reconstructs, a heretical magazine posted direct from the distant continent. Grandma would save me the stamps from the biscuity envelopes. These tended to celebrate industrial achievement—bridges, hydroelectric dams, lorries rolling off production lines—or else show various breeds of dove in peaceful flight.
My brother did not compete for such offerings, because some years previously there had been a Stamp-Collecting Schism in our home. He had decided to specialize in the British Empire. I, to assert my difference, announced that I would therefore specialize in a category which I named, with what seemed like logic to me, Rest of the World. It was defined solely in terms of what my brother didn’t collect. I can no longer remember if this move was aggressive, defensive, or merely pragmatic. All I know is that it led to some occasionally baffling exchanges in the school stamp club among philatelists only recently out of short trousers. “So, Barnesy, what do you collect?” “Rest of the World.

 
Julian Barnes (Leicester, 19 januari 1946)
Cover

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Julian Barnes, Bert Natter, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade, Thomas Gsella”

Julian Barnes, Bert Natter, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade, Thomas Gsella

De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook alle tags voor Julian Barnes op dit blog.

Uit:Het tumult van de tijd (Vertaald door Ronald Vlek)

“Het gebeurde midden in de oorlog, op een perron, even vlak en stoffig als de eindeloze steppe die het omringde. De wachtende trein was twee dagen geleden uit Moskou vertrokken, in westelijke richting; nog twee of drie dagen te gaan, afhankelijk van kolenvoorraad en troepenbewegingen. Het was kort na zonsopgang, maar de man – in werkelijkheid maar een halve man – was al bezig zich op een platte lorrie met houten wielen naar de slaaprijtuigen te stuwen. Er was geen andere manier om het geval voort te bewegen dan aan de voorkant te wrikken, en om te voorkomen dat hij zijn evenwicht verloor had hij een touw onder de lorrie door gehaald en door zijn broeksband gestoken. De handen van de man waren omzwachteld met smerige repen stof en zijn huid was gehard door het bedelen op straten en stations.
Zijn vader was een overlevende geweest van de vorige oorlog. Hij was vertrokken met de zegen van de dorpspriester om te gaan vechten voor het vaderland en de tsaar. Toen hij terug was gekomen waren de priester en de tsaar inmiddels verdwenen, en was zijn vaderland niet meer hetzelfde geweest. Zijn vrouw had gegild toen ze zag wat de oorlog met haar man had gedaan. Nu woedde er opnieuw een oorlog, en was dezelfde indringer weer terug, al waren de namen veranderd; de namen aan beide kanten.
Maar verder was er niets veranderd: jonge mannen werden nog steeds door kanonnen aan flarden geschoten en vervolgens door chirurgen ruw opengesneden. Zijn eigen benen waren afgezet in een veldhospitaal te midden van kapotgeschoten bomen. Allemaal voor een hoger doel, zoals dat de vorige keer ook het geval was geweest. Het liet hem koud. Laat anderen daar maar over twisten; zijn enige zorg was het einde halen van de volgende dag. Hij was verworden tot een techniek om te overleven. Beneden een bepaald niveau werden alle mannen dat: een techniek om te overleven.
Enkele passagiers waren uitgestapt om zich even te vertreden in de stoffige lucht; andere zaten met hun gezicht voor de ramen van de rijtuigen. Terwijl de bedelaar naderbij kwam, hief hij luidkeels een obsceen soldatenlied aan. Sommige passagiers zouden hem misschien een paar kopeken toewerpen als dank voor het vertier; andere hem betalen om zich te verwijderen.”

 
Julian Barnes (Leicester, 19 januari 1946)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Julian Barnes, Bert Natter, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade, Thomas Gsella”

Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen, Gustav Meyrink

De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook alle tags voor Julian Barnes op dit blog.

Uit: Levels of Life

“You put together two things that have not been put together before; and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Pilâtre de Rozier, the first man to ascend in a fire balloon, also planned to be the first to fly the Channel from France to England. To this end he constructed a new kind of aerostat, with a hydrogen balloon on top, to give greater lift, and a fire balloon beneath, to give better control. He put these two things together, and on the 15th of June 1785, when the winds seemed favourable, he made his ascent from the Pas-de-Calais. The brave new contraption rose swiftly, but before it had even reached the coastline, flame appeared at the top of the hydrogen balloon, and the whole, hopeful aerostat, now looking to one observer like a heavenly gas lamp, fell to earth, killing both pilot and co-pilot.
You put together two people who have not been put together before; and sometimes the world is changed, sometimes not. They may crash and burn, or burn and crash. But sometimes, something new is made, and then the world is changed. Together, in that first exaltation, that first roaring sense of uplift, they are greater than their two separate selves. Together, they see further, and they see more clearly.
Of course, love may not be evenly matched; perhaps it rarely is. To put it another way: how did those besieged Parisians of 1870-71 get replies to their letters? You can fly a balloon out from the Place St.-Pierre and assume it will land somewhere useful; but you can hardly expect the winds, however patriotic, to blow it back to Montmartre on a return flight. Various stratagems were proposed: for example, placing the return correspondence in large metal globes and floating them downstream into the city, there to be caught in nets. Pigeon post was a more obvious idea, and a Batignolles pigeon fancier put his dovecote at the authorities’ disposal: a basket of birds might be flown out with each siege balloon, and return bearing letters. But compare the freight capacity of a balloon and a pigeon, and imagine the weight of disappointment. According to Nadar, the solution came from an engineer who worked in sugar manufacture. Letters intended for Paris were to be written in a clear hand, on one side of the paper, with the recipient’s address at the top. Then, at the collecting station, hundreds of them would be laid side by side on a large screen and photographed. The image would be micrographically reduced, flown into Paris by carrier pigeon, and enlarged back to readable size..”

 
Julian Barnes (Leicester, 19 januari 1946)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen, Gustav Meyrink”

Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen

De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook alle tags voor Julian Barnes op dit blog.

Uit: Alsof het voorbij is (Vertaald door Ronald Vlek)

“Er was onrust, meneer.’
Een explosie van nauwelijks onderdrukt gegniffel; Hunt glimlachte zelf bijna.
‘Zou je dat misschien wat nader kunnen preciseren?’
Marshall knikte traag instemmend, dacht nog iets langer na en besloot dat dit geen moment was voor behoedzaamheid. ‘Ik zou zeggen dat er grote onrust was, meneer.’
‘Finn dan. Ben jij een beetje thuis in die periode?’
De nieuwe jongen zat een rij voor me en links van mij. Hij had geen zichtbare reactie getoond bij Marshalls onnozelheden.
‘Niet echt, meneer, vrees ik. Maar er is een opvatting die inhoudt dat het enige wat er werkelijk over een historische gebeurtenis – zelfs over het uitbreken van de Eerste Wereldoorlog bijvoorbeeld – valt te zeggen is dat er “iets heeft plaatsgevonden”.’
‘O ja, is dat zo? Nou, dan zou ik meteen zonder werk zitten.’ Na wat kruiperig gelach, vergaf Ouwe Joe Hunt ons onze vakantieluiheid en praatte hij ons bij over de polygame koninklijke slager.
In de volgende pauze stapte ik op Finn af. ‘Ik ben Tony Webster.’ Hij keek me wantrouwend aan. ‘Mooi antwoord aan Hunt.’ Hij leek niet te weten waar ik op doelde. ‘Dat er iets had plaatsgevonden.’
‘O dat. Ik was een beetje teleurgesteld dat hij er niet op doorging.’
Dat was niet wat hij geacht werd te zeggen.
Nog een detail dat ik me herinner: wij drieën droegen, als symbool van ons verbond, onze horloges altijd met de wijzerplaat aan de binnenkant van onze pols. Het was natuurlijk aanstellerij, maar misschien iets meer. Het deed de tijd voelen als een persoonlijk, ja zelfs geheim iets. We verwachtten dat het Adrian zou opvallen en dat hij ons voorbeeld zou volgen; maar dat deed hij niet.”

 
Julian Barnes (Leicester, 19 januari 1946)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Patricia Highsmith, Marie Koenen”

Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade

De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook alle tags voor Julian Barnes op dit blog.

Uit: The Sense of an Ending

„I remember, in no particular order:
– a shiny inner wrist;
– steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;
– gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;
– a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams;
– another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;
– bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door. This last isn’t something I actually saw, but what you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.
We live in time – it holds us and moulds us – but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing – until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.

***

I’m not very interested in my schooldays, and don’t feel any nostalgia for them. But school is where it all began, so I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty. If I can’t be sure of the actual events any more, I can at least be true to the impressions those facts left. That’s the best I can manage.
There were three of us, and he now made the fourth. We hadn’t expected to add to our tight number: cliques and pairings had happened long before, and we were already beginning to imagine our escape from school into life. His name was Adrian Finn, a tall, shy boy who initially kept his eyes down and his mind to himself. For the first day or two, we took little notice of him: at our school there was no welcoming ceremony, let alone its opposite, the punitive induction. We just registered his presence and waited.”

 
Julian Barnes (Leicester, 19 januari 1946)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade”

Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade

De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook alle tags voor Julian Barnes op dit blog.

Uit: Alsof het voorbij is (Vertaald door Ronald Vlek)

“We waren met zijn drieën, en nu was hij er als vierde bij gekomen. We hadden niet verwacht ons vaste aantal ooit nog uit te breiden: kliek- en paarvorming hadden al lang geleden plaatsgevonden, en wij begonnen onze ontsnapping van school naar leven al voor ons te zien. Hij heette Adrian Finn, een lange, verlegen jongen die in het begin zijn ogen neergeslagen en zijn ideeën voor zich hield. De eerste dagen namen we weinig notitie van hem: onze school kende geen welkomstceremonieel, laat staan het andere uiterste: de ontgroening. We registreerden slechts zijn aanwezigheid en wachtten af.
De leraren waren meer in hem geïnteresseerd dan wij. Ze moesten zijn intelligentie en werkhouding peilen, uitvinden hoe hij hiervoor les had gehad, en of hij mogelijk ‘studiebeurswaardig’ zou blijken. Op de derde ochtend van dat najaarstrimester hadden we geschiedenis van Ouwe Joe Hunt, droogkomisch innemend in zijn driedelig pak, een leraar wiens systeem van orde berustte op het in stand houden van voldoende maar niet buitensporige landerigheid.
‘Jullie weten nog dat ik jullie gevraagd heb alvast iets te lezen over het koningschap van Hendrik VIII.’ Colin, Alex en ik loerden even naar elkaar, in de hoop dat de vraag niet, zoals de uitgeworpen kunstvlieg van een hengelaar, op een van onze hoofden zou neerdalen. ‘Wie zou die periode eens willen karakteriseren?’ Hij trok zijn eigen conclusies uit onze afgewende blikken. ‘Marshall misschien. Hoe zou jij het koningschap van Hendrik viii willen omschrijven?’
Onze opluchting was groter dan onze nieuwsgierigheid, want Marshall was een voorzichtig stuk onbenul dat de inventiviteit van de ware onwetendheid miste. Hij zocht eerst naar mogelijk verborgen haken en ogen in de vraagstelling voordat hij ten slotte ergens een antwoord wist op te diepen.”

Julian Barnes (Leicester, 19 januari 1946)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Julian Barnes, Edgar Allen Poe, Edwidge Danticat, Gustav Meyrink, Eugénio de Andrade”