I’m back in Rio, working in a hostel in Copacabana. It rains here, it rains ALL the time. I think England has a bad name.
My laptop is now fixed, but I’m beginning to think that thing was a curse. It felt pretty good the week it was broken, no need to think about work or getting anything done. I spent time with friends, on the beach, in hostels, in bars, I played guitar, and I read books. Plenty of them! And all of them, pretty special in their own way.
After reading The Aleph I now understand why Jorge Luis Borges is regarded as one of the greats. No-one writes about Life and Death like him; immortality, mythology, identity, is all documented here in astonishing brevity. The Zahir is my personal favourite from this book. To anyone who has ever played The Game, herein lies its secret.
Darkness At Noon (Arthur Koestler) is set behind the Iron Curtain. Rubashov has been arrested for political divergences and is slowly being worn down by the Government and the guards into pleading guilty to the crimes of which he did not commit. Ah, the joys of Communist Russia! But this book is ridiculously easy to read. The whole thing is set in Rubashov´s prison cell with his remembrances of the events leading up to his arrest the only divergences. It’s the writing of his mental condition as he constantly searches for the ethics behind the regime and his previous actions, and then trying to make peace with himself, which make this book so great.
I also read a collection of Luc Sante‘s writings (Kill All Your Darlings) for the New York Review and Village Voice among others (his piece on the blues, The Invention of the Blues, is surely one of the greatest pieces ever written on early blues) and Khaled Hosseini‘s Thousand Splendid Suns (a decent story made even more interesting by its backdrop in Afghanistan, and how its politics have evolved over the previous 30 years).
The hostel is 4 blocks from the beach. So far, I haven’t been in the sea once. Manilow never mentioned the rain.