Posted by: Corri van de Stege | October 20, 2007

October Saturday

I am completely preoccupied with The Berlin Wall (Frederick Taylor) as it straddles a part of history that somehow is so near to and at the same time so far away from my current life.  It was part of my growing up, the threat and the locking up of people behind a wall – let’s be honest: the wall was built to keep people in, not to prevent people from coming in! – and all of that is still going on, as in Burma and in so many other parts of the world.  At the same time, it is so very symptomatic of religious obscurantism, locking people up, threatening them with eternal damnation in one form or another, Moslem, Calvinism, Roman Catholicism, they all try to keep people IN, not prevent others from coming in, and they do this through their prescriptions, their religious dogmas and it still goes on.  It struck me this week, listening to a radio programme, I think it was BBC 4, where a Moslem woman was talking about her family having disowned her because of her wanting to live a different life from them, she simply wanted to have the freedom to choose her own marriage partner, rather than leaving it to her parents!  The Wall of course did the same to people, proscribing and prescribing, and if not agreeable then locking up in secure prisons, punishment for not being conformist.

I am battling on with my own writing, regardless, or perhaps because of all the inspiration I get from books like Frederick Taylor’s.  So no novel to review this weekend (even if I am at the same time finishing Tender is the Night and today have acquired a pile of other books (don’t let me loose on a bookshop on a free Saturday), as well as having ordered several from Amazon, including Matt’s much recommended The World Without Us – for one of my train journeys, as he implies… 



  1. And we have also built walls inside ourselves to prevent others from reaching us.

    What’s made us to be so secretive? Perhaps we should find the answer in our educational systems together with the religious hue always applicable to them.

  2. Jose: yes, I think religion has got a lot to answer for. Walls are just symptomatic for all kinds of barriers we build in and around ourselves.

  3. I have a quick plane journey today. SF-LA. I’ve got a seminar on Russian Literature with guest speaker, Prof. Burgin who translated The Master and Margarita.

    Tender is the Night has been on the want-to-read list for so long that it’s about time to thaw it out, eh?

  4. Matt: wish I could join you in your seminar – sounds fascinating! yes, Tender is the Night is definitely worth thawing – even if at times some of the sections almost sound archaic now, the prose is never anything but fluent and perfect!

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