Martin Amis, Kees Stip, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Thea Astley


De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2010.

Uit: Het interessegebied (Vertaald door Janneke van der Meulen)

“Ik was niet onbekend met de bliksemflits; ik was niet onbekend met de donderslag. Benijdenswaardig ervaren in deze zaken, was ik niet onbekend met de wolkbreuk – de wolkbreuk, en daarna de zonneschijn en de regenboog.
Ze kwam terug uit de oude stad met haar twee dochters, en ze bevonden zich al een flink eind binnen het Interessegebied. Een lange laan – haast wel een zuilengang – strekte zich uitnodigend voor hen uit, omzoomd door esdoorns, waarvan de takken en het gelobde loof zich hoog in de lucht met elkaar verstrengelden. Een namiddag hartje zomer, met miniem glinsterende muggen... Mijn notitieboekje lag opengeslagen op een boomstronk, en een lichte bries neusde nieuwsgierig door de bladzijden.
Lang, breedgebouwd, welgevuld en toch lichtvoetig, in een geschulpte, enkellange witte jurk, met een zachtgele strohoed met een zwart lint op en zwaaiend met een strooien tas (de meisjes, eveneens in het wit, droegen ook een strohoed en een strooien tas), bewoog ze zich in en uit vlagen donzige, geelbruine, leeuwachtige warmte. Ze lachte – hoofd in de nek, gespannen hals. Parallel aan haar hield ik gelijke tred, in mijn sobere tweed jasje en gekeperde pantalon, met mijn klembord en vulpen.
Nu stak het drietal de oprit van de manege over. Terwijl haar kinderen plagerig om haar heen dartelden, passeerde ze de decoratieve windmolen, de meiboom, de galg met drie wielen, het trekpaard dat losjes was vastgemaakt aan de ijzeren waterpomp, en liep toen verder.
Het Ka Zet in, Ka Zet I in.
Er gebeurde iets bij die eerste aanblik. Bliksem, donder, wolkbreuk, zonneschijn, regenboog – de meteorologie van de eerste aanblik.
Haar naam was Hannah – mevrouw Hannah Doll.
In de officiersclub, gezeten op een paardenharen sofa, omringd door bronzen paardentuig en paardenprenten en onder het genot van ersatzkoffie (koffie voor paarden) zei ik tegen Boris Eltz, met wie ik al mijn leven lang bevriend was: ‘Heel even was ik weer jong. Het leek wel liefde.’


Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

Lees meer...


Dolce far niente, Albert Verwey, Kees Stip, Martin Amis, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller


Dolce far niente


The Bathers door John Singer Sargent, 1917



Baders hartewens

Dwars door de tuinen
Van roos en ranken
‘t pad te banen,
Dan door de lanen
Van zand en dennen
Vluchtig te rennen
Tot waar de kruinen
Van hoge duinen
‘t blauwe blanken
En zo te naderen
Met zwellende aderen
In laatste loop
De harde golven
En, overdolven,
Hun koele doop.


Albert Verwey (15 mei 1865 - 8 maart 1937)
Amsterdam, 19e eeuw. Albert Verwey werd geboren in Amsterdam


Lees meer...


Martin Amis, Howard Jacobson, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder


De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2010.

Uit: Denton's Death

“Suddenly Denton realized that there would be three of them, that they would come after dark, that their leader would have his own key, and that they would be calm and deliberate, confident that they had all the time they needed to do what had to be done. He knew that they would be courtly, deferential, urbane - whatever state he happened to be in when they arrived - and that he would be allowed to make himself comfortable; perhaps he would even be offered a last cigarette. He never seriously doubted that he would warm to and admire all three at once, and wish only that he could have been their friend. He knew that they used a machine. As if prompted by some special hindsight, Denton thought often and poignantly about the moment when the leader would consent to take his hand as the machine began to work. He knew that they were out there already, seeing people, making telephone calls; and he knew that they must be very expensive.
At first, he took a lively, even rather self-important interest in the question of who had hired the men and their machine. Who would bother to do this to him? There was his brother, a huge exhausted man whom Denton had never liked or disliked or felt close to or threatened by in any way: they had quarreled recently over the allotment of their dead mothers goods, and Denton had in fact managed to secure a few worthless extras at his brothers expense; but this was just one more reason why his brother could never afford to do this to him. There was a man at the office whose life Denton had probably ruined: having bullied his friend into assisting him with a routine office theft, Denton told all to his superiors, claiming that he had used duplicity merely to test his colleague (Denton's firm not only dismissed the man — they also, to Denton's mild alarm, successfully prosecuted him for fraud); but someone whose life you could ruin so easily wouldn't have the determination to do this to him.”


Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

Lees meer...


Martin Amis, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Thea Astley


De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2010.

Uit: Money

“I’d better give you the lowdown on Selina — and quick. That hot bitch, what am I letting her do to me?
Like many girls (I reckon), and especially those of the small, supple, swervy, bendy, bed-smart variety, Selina lives her life in hardened fear of assault, molestation and rape. The world has ravished her often enough in the past, and she thinks the world wants to ravish her again. Lying between the sheets, or propped at my side during long and anxious journeys in the Fiasco, or seated across the table in the deep lees of high-tab dinners, Selina has frequently refreshed me with tales of insult and violation from her childhood and teenage years — a musk-breathing, toffee-offering sicko on the common, the toolshed interrogations of sweat-soaked parkies, some lumbering retard in the alley or the lane, right up to the narcissist photographers and priapic prop-boys who used to cruise her at work, and now the scowling punks, soccer trogs and bus-stop boogies malevolently lining the streets and more or less constantly pinching her ass or flicking her tits and generally making no bones about the things they need to do… It must be tiring knowledge, the realization that half the members of the planet, one on one, can do what the hell they like with you.
And it must be extra tough on a girl like Selina, whose appearance, after many hours at the mirror, is a fifty—fifty compromise between the primly juvenile and the grossly provocative. Her tastes are strictly High Street too, with frank promise of brothelly knowhow and top-dollar underwear. I’ve followed Selina down the strip, when we’re shopping, say, and she strolls on ahead, wearing sawn-off jeans and a wash-withered T-shirt, or a frilly frock measuring the brink of her russety thighs, or a transparent coating of gossamer, like a condom, or an abbreviated school uniform … The men wince and watch, wince and watch. They buckle and half turn away. They shut their eyes and clutch their nuts. And sometimes, when they see me cruise up behind my little friend and slip an arm around her trim and muscular waist, they look at me as if to say — Do something about it, will you ? Don’t let her go about the place looking like that. Come on, it’s your responsibility.»


Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

Lees meer...


Martin Amis, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Frederick Forsyth, Jògvan Isaksen, Thea Astley


De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Amis op dit blog.


Uit: Night Train


“I am a police. That may sound like an unusual statement--or an unusual construction. But it's a parlance we have. Among ourselves, we would never say I am a policeman or I am a policewoman or I am a police officer. We would just say I am a police. I am a police. I am a police and my name is Detective Mike Hoolihan. And I am a woman, also.

What I am setting out here is an account of the worst case I have ever handled. The worst case--for me, that is. When you're a police, "worst" is an elastic concept. You can't really get a fix on "worst." The boundaries are pushed out every other day. "Worst?" we'll ask. "There's no such thing as worst." But for Detective Mike Hoolihan this was the worst case.

Downtown, at CID, with its three thousand sworn, there are many departments and subdepartments, sections and units, whose names are always changing: Organized Crime, Major Crimes, Crimes Against Persons, Sex Offenses, Auto Theft, Check and Fraud, Special Investigations, Asset Forfeiture, Intelligence, Narcotics, Kidnapping, Burglary, Robbery--and Homicide. There is a glass door marked Vice. There is no glass door marked Sin. The city is the offense. We are the defense. That's the general idea.

Here is my personal "ten-card." At the age of eighteen I enrolled for a master's in Criminal Justice at Pete Brown. But what I really wanted was the streets. And I couldn't wait. I took tests for state trooper, for border patrol, and even for state corrections officer. I passed them all. I also took the police test, and I passed that, too. I quit Pete and enrolled at the Academy.”




Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)

Lees meer...


Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Martin Amis, Frederick Forsyth


De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2009 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2010.




Since landscape’s insoluble,
Then loath at last light I leave the landfall, soft and gone.
Or it leaves me.
I’ve got a tune in my head I can’t let go,
Unlike the landscape, heavy and wan,
Sunk like a stone in the growing night,
Snuffed in the heart like a candle flame that won’t come back.

Our world is of little moment, of course, but it is our world.
Thus it behooves us to contemplate,
from time to time,
The weight of glory we should wish reset in our hearts,
About the things which are seen,
and things which are not seen,
That corresponds like to like,
The stone to the dark of the earth, the flame to the star.


Those without stories are preordained to repeat them,
I saw once in the stars.
Unclear who underwrote that,
But since then I’ve seen it everywhere
I’ve looked, staggering
Noon light and night’s meridian wandering wide and the single sky.
And here it is in the meadow grass, a brutish script.

We tend to repeat what we don’t know
Instead of the other way around—
thus mojo, thus misericordia,
Old cross-work and signature, the catechism in the wind.
We tend to repeat what hurts us, things, and ghosts of things,
The actual green of summer, and summer’s half-truth.
We tend to repeat ourselves.


One longs for order and permanence,
An order as in the night sky just north of Mt. Caribou,
Permanence like the seasons,
coming in, going out,
Watchman and wanderer. There’s been no cure, however, and no
Ecstasy in transcendent form, so
Don’t look for me here, incipient, now, in the artifice.

Florence is much on my mind, gold leaf and golden frame,
Infinite background of the masters—
Mayfire of green in the hills,
watchtower and Belvedere,
The Arno, as Dino said, like a dithering snake,
Sad swipe of forgetfulness.
Last chance, a various universe.


A few more rising and setting suns.
Always the spike of the purple lupin, always the folded hands of the dog rose.
Childhood, gentle monk.
His eye extinguished,
someone’s red-gold heart-mouth has sealed his lips.
No wind in the evergreens, no singer, no lament.
Summer surrounds us, and wordless, O blue cathedral.

A few more sorrowful scenes.
The waters murmur, shadows are moist in the upper meadow.
Silence wide as a wasteland through the black streets of the forest.
Over the white eyelids of the dead,
white clover is blossoming.
Late snow like a fallen city shimmers the mountain’s riprap and stare.
Unmullioned window, stained light.


The lapis lazuli dragonflies
of postbelief, rising and falling near
The broken slab wood steps, now one by one, now in pairs,
Are not the dragonflies of death with their blue-black eyes.
These are the tiny ones, the stems, the phosphorescent,
Rising and falling like drowned playthings.
They come and they disappear. They come back and they disappear.

Horizon-hump of pine bristles on end toward the south,
Breath-stealer, cloudless drop cloth
Of sky,
the great meadow beneath like a mirror face down in the earth,
Accepting nothing, giving it back.
We’ll go, as Mandelstam tells us, into a growing numbness of time,
Insoluble, as long as landscape, as indistinct.



Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam, 25 augustus 1935)

Lees meer...


Frederick Forsyth, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Martin Amis, Jógvan Isaksen, U Tchicaya Tam'si, Thea Astley, Brian Moore, Johann Herder


Zie voor de volgende schrijvers van de 25e augustus mijn blog bij seniorennet.be


Frederick Forsyth, Charles Wright, Maxim Biller, Martin Amis


Zie voor de volgende schrijvers van de 25e augustus ook bij seniorennet.be mijn vorige blog van vandaag.


Jógvan Isaksen, U Tchicaya Tam'si, Thea Astley, Brian Moore, Johann Herder


Brian Moore, Charles Wright, Martin Amis, Johann Herder, Maxim Biller

De Ierse schrijver. Brian Moore werd geboren in Belfast op 25 augustus 1921.


Uit: The Luck of Ginger Coffey


“Fifteen dollars and three cents. He counted it and put it in his trouser-pocket. Then picked his Tyrolean hat off the dresser, wondering if the two Alpine buttons and the little brush dingus in the hatband weren’t a shade jaunty for the place he was going. Still, they might be lucky to him. And it was a lovely morning, clear and crisp and clean. Maybe that was a good augury. Maybe today his ship would come in.

James Francis (Ginger) Coffey then risked it into the kitchen. His wife was at the stove. His daughter Paulie sat listless over Corn Flakes. He said “Good morning,” but his only answer came from Michel, the landlady’s little boy, who was looking out the window.

“What’s up, lad?” Coffey asked, joining Michel. Together, man and boy, they watched a Montreal Roads Department tractor clambering on and off the pavement as it shunted last night’s snowfall into the street.

“Sit down, Ginger, you’re as bad as the child,” his wife said, laying his breakfast on the kitchen table.

He tried her again. “Good morning, Veronica.”

“His mother was just in,” said she, pointing to Michel. “Wanting to know how long we were going to keep the place on. I told her you’d speak to her. So don’t forget to pop upstairs and give our notice the minute you have the tickets.”

“Yes, dear.” Flute! Couldn’t a man get a bite of breakfast into him before she started that nattering? He knew about telling Madame Beaulieu. All right.

A boiled egg, one slice of toast and his tea. It was not enough. Breakfast was his best meal; she knew that. But in the crying poverty mood that was on her these last weeks, he supposed she’d take his head off altogether if he asked her for a second egg. Still, he tried.

“Would you make us another egg?” he said.

“Make it yourself,” she said.

He turned to Paulie. “Pet, would you shove an egg on for me?”

“Daddy, I’m late.”





Brian Moore
(25 augustus 1921 – 10 januari 1999)






De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee.



Last Supper 


I seem to have come to the end of something, but don’t know what,

Full moon blood orange just over the top of the redbud tree.

Maundy Thursday tomorrow,

then Good Friday, then Easter in full drag,

Dogwood blossoms like little crosses

All down the street,

lilies and jonquils bowing their mitred heads.


Perhaps it’s a sentimentality about such fey things,

But I don’t think so. One knows

There is no end to the other world,

no matter where it is.

In the event, a reliquary evening for sure,

The bones in their tiny boxes, rosettes under glass.


Or maybe it’s just the way the snow fell

a couple of days ago,

So white on the white snowdrops.

As our fathers were bold to tell us,

it’s either eat or be eaten.

Spring in its starched bib,

Winter’s cutlery in its hands. Cold grace. Slice and fork.





Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam,  25 augustus 1935)






De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.


Uit: Lolita Reconsidered


“Without apeing the explicatory style of Nabokov's famous Lectures (without producing height-charts, road maps, motel bookmatches, and so on),it might still be as well to establish what actually happens in Lolita: morally. How bad is all this--on paper, anyway? Although he distances himself with customary hauteur from the world of 'coal sheds and alleyways', of panting maniacs and howling policemen, Humbert Humbert is without question an honest-to-God, open-and-shut sexual deviant, displaying classic ruthlessness, guile and (above all) attention to detail. He parks the car at the gates of schoolyards, for instance, and obliges Lo to fondle him as the children emerge. Sixty-five cents secures a similar caress in her classroom, while Humbert admires a platinum classmate. Fellatio prices peak at four dollars a session before Humbert brings rates down 'drastically by having her earn the hard and nauseous way permission to participate in the school's theatrical programme'. On the other hand he performs complementary cunnilingus when his stepdaughter is laid low by fever: 'I could not resist the exquisite caloricity of unexpected delights--Venus febriculosa--though it was a very languid Lolita that moaned and coughed and shivered in my embrace.'


Humbert was evidently something of a bourgeois sadist with his first wife, Valeria. He fantasized about 'slapping her breasts out of alignment' or 'putting on [his] mountain boots and taking a running kick at her rump' but in reality confined himself to 'twisting fat Valechka's brittle wrist (the one she had fallen upon from a bicycle)' and saying, 'Look here, you fat fool, c'est moi qui décide.' The weakened wrist is good: sadists know all about weakspots.”




Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)






De Duitse dichter, schrijver, theoloog en cultuur-filosoof Johann Gottfried von Herder werd geboren in Mohrungen op 25 augustus 1744. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.



In Mitte der Ewigkeit


Ein Traum, ein Traum ist unser Leben

auf Erden hier.

Wie Schatten auf den Wegen schweben

und schwinden wir.

Und messen unsre trägen Tritte

nach Raum und Zeit;

und sind (und wissen's nicht) in Mitte

der Ewigkeit . . .







Lebensfunke, vom Himmel entglüht,

Der sich loszuwinden müht!

Zitternd, kühn, vor Sehnen leidend,

Gern und doch mit Schmerzen scheidend!

End', o end' den Kampf, Natur!

Sanft ins Leben

Aufwärts schweben,

Sanft hinschwinden laß mich nur.


Horch!, mir lispeln Geister zu:

»Schwester-Seele, komm zur Ruh!«

Ziehet was mich sanft von hinnen?

Was ist's, was mir meine Sinnen,

Mir den Hauch zu rauben droht?

Seele, sprich, ist das der Tod?


Die Welt entweicht!

Sie ist nicht mehr!

Engel-Einklang um mich her!

Ich schweb' im Morgenrot!

Leiht, o leiht mir eure Schwingen;

Ihr Brüder-Geister, helft mir singen:

»O Grab, wo ist dein Sieg?

Wo ist dein Pfeil, o Tod?«





Johann Gottfried von Herder (25 augustus 1744 – 18 december 1803)

Borstbeeld in Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek






De Duitse schrijver Maxim Biller werd geboren op 25 augustus 1960 in Praag. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.


Uit: Liebe Heute


“Große, grüne, wogende Blätter

Er wartete auf sie drei Monate lang. Er sortierte seine Fotos, brachte Ordnung in seine Bücher und räumte ein paar Möbel um, und dann wartete er weiter. Dann las er alle Briefe, die er jemals bekommen hatte, und warf die meisten weg, und er kaufte eine große Karte von Indien und hängte sie über sein Bett. Nein, er kaufte keine Karte von Indien, aber er wollte es wirklich tun, während er wartete. Er wartete und wartete und fing an, eine Geschichte darüber zu schreiben, wie er auf sie wartete, aber er wußte nicht, wie sie endete, und dann hörte er wieder auf damit. Zum Schluß machte er gar nichts mehr; er wartete nicht einmal mehr. Er schlief immer weniger, er aß nur noch Brot und Tomaten und gelben

Supermarktkäse, und dann kam sie endlich, sie saßen zusammen bei ihm auf der Couch, und sie sagte: »Es war eine lange Zeit.« »Ja«, sagte er, obwohl er sich fest vorgenommen hatte, so wenig wie möglich zu sagen, »es war eine sehr lange Zeit.« Sie hatte abgenommen auf ihrer Reise, und er fand nicht, daß sie besser aussah als vorher. Sie war müde, aber sie war immer müde, deshalb war sie weggefahren, um nicht mehr müde zu sein, und jetzt kam sie noch müder zurück. Und sie war älter geworden. Älter oder ernster oder härter, das wußte er nicht so genau. Ein grauer Schimmer lag auf ihrer sonnengegerbten Haut, wie ihn sonst nur ältere Frauen hatten, ihr Lächeln war viel zu ernst und überlegen, und ihre Wangenknochen traten noch stärker hervor als früher. Sie stand auf und ging raus, und als sie zurückkam, hatte sie eine bunte Tüte in der Hand.

»Das ist für dich«, sagte sie.

»Danke, meine Liebe«, sagte er. Er machte die Tüte auf. Es war ein kleiner, schwarzer, dicker Elefant aus Mahagoni drin.

»Möchtest du etwas trinken?« sagte er.


»Ich hab Wein für dich gekauft.«

»Nein. Wasser«, sagte sie.

Er stand langsam auf und streifte mit seinem Bein ihr Bein. Es war bis auf den flüchtigen Begrüßungskuß ihre erste Berührung seit drei Monaten.

»Wirklich nur Wasser?« rief er aus der Küche, aber sie antwortete nicht. »Kalt oder normal?« rief er wieder, und sie rief leise zurück: »Normal.«




Maxim Biller (Praag, 25 augustus 1960)





Zie voor alle bovenstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2008.




Brian Moore, Charles Wright, Martin Amis, Johann Herder, Maxim Biller

De Ierse schrijver. Brian Moore werd geboren in Belfast op 25 augustus 1921 in een groot katholiek doktersgezin. Zijn middelbare schooltijd herinnerde hij zich als een ramp. In de Tweede Wereldoorlog trad hij in dienst van het Britse Ministerie voor Oorlogstransporten en was actief in onder meer Algerije, Italië en Frankrijk. In 1948 vestigde hij zich in Canada en verwierf het Canadese staatsburgerschap. Vanaf de jaren 1950 begon hij te schrijven, waarvoor hij zich altijd afzonderde van zijn gezin en vrienden. In 1964 hertrouwde hij met zijn tweede vrouw, Jean Denney, bij wie hij zich veel gelukkiger voelde. Een jaar later verhuisden ze naar Californië, waar hij in 1999 overleed. Zijn meest verkochte roman, The Lies of Silence (1990) is een thriller die speelt in Belfast. Moore maakte zich zorgen over de waanzin en 'dodelijke ziekte' waar Noord-Ierland volgens hem aan leed.


Uit: Catholics


“The fog lifted. The island was there. The visitor walked to the end of the disused pier and saw it across three miles of ocean, riding the sea like an overturned fishing boat. Morning sunlight moved along a keel of mountain, above valleys black as tarred boat sides.

He thought of Rome. Surprisingly, the order itself had little descriptive information. In the Lungotevere Vaticano he had been handed an out-of-print book: Weir’s Guide to Religious Monuments.

Muck Abbey, Kerry, Ireland. On a small island off the rocky panoramic coastline of the Atlantic Ocean known as “The Ring of Kerry.” The monastery, (Albanesian order), founded 1216, rebuilt 1400–1470, has a dependency, or cell, on the mainland, the priory of Holy Cross, at Mount Coom near the village of Cahirciveen. This priory, sacked by Cromwellian troops, was, in Penal times, a site for clandestine Mass, conducted in the open air on a “Mass rock” altar. The abbey itself (on Muck Island) escaped Cromwellian despoliation and sits on the western slope of the island overlooking a splendor of sea. From the abbey tower the visitor looks down on gray waves that curl on barren rock. The monks fish and gather kelp.

He had telephoned again before breakfast. The pretty girl at the desk in his hotel cranked up an incredibly old-fashioned device to call exchange. “We’re wanting Muck Island. No, Sheilagh, it’s all right, it’s for that priest who spoke to the island last night.

“There now, Father.” He took the receiver. A bell rang and rang.

“Muck Island One,” said a crackly voice, out in the Atlantic.

The visitor gave his name. He said he had been asked to call and check on the weather.

“What was your name again, now?”

“Kinsella. Father James Kinsella.” He had learned his lesson.

“Ah, Father Kinsella. We’ll send a boat for you, to be sure. Go down to the pier now, and Padraig will be along shortly.”

Gulls, searching the remains of fish, skimmed overhead, dipped to the brackish waters beneath. Behind him, at the end of the road that led to the pier, were three roofless concrete boat sheds, floored with weeds, smelling of urine and sheep droppings. A very old car, which he had thought abandoned, sat in one of the sheds. Yesterday, when he first drove down here searching the fog for a sight of the island, he had looked in at the car. A purple silk stole lay on the front seat. At the hotel, after dinner, he asked who had built this pier. No, the monks had not built it, the Irish government built it, years ago, before the fishing became polluted. At that time, there were some twenty families living on the island. “They’ve nearly all come out since. Scattered now, to the four ends of the world.”





Brian Moore
(25 augustus 1921 – 10 januari 1999)







De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. Hij volgde opleidingen aan het Davidson College en de University of Iowa. In 1983 ontving hij de National Book Award voor Country Music: Selected Early Poems en de Pulitzer Prize for Poetry voor Black Zodiac in 1998. Voor zijn vertaling van Eugenio Montale's The Storm and Other Poems kreeg hij in 1979 de PEN Translation Prize. Wright doceert ook Engels aan de University of Virginia in Charlottesville..


Werk o.a: Chickamauga, Buffalo Yoga, Negative Blue, Appalachia, The World of the Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980-1990, Zone Journals and Hard Freight


After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard


East of me, west of me, full summer.
How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard.
Birds fly back and forth across the lawn
looking for home
As night drifts up like a little boat.

Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
Like this mockingbird,
I flit from one thing to the next.
What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
Tomorrow is dark.
Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.

The sky dogs are whimpering.
Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
up from the damp grass.
Into the world's tumult, into the chaos of every day,
Go quietly, quietly.






Dove-twirl in the tall grass.
End-of-summer glaze next door
On the gloves and split ends of the conked magnolia tree.
Work sounds: truck back-up-beep, wood
tin-hammer, cicada, fire horn.
History handles our past like spoiled fruit.
Mid-morning, late-century light
calicoed under the peach trees.
Fingers us here. Fingers us here and here.
The poem is a code with no message:
The point of the mask is not the mask but
the face underneath,
Absolute, incommunicado,
unhoused and peregrine.
The gill net of history will pluck us soon enough
From the cold waters of self-contentment
we drift in
One by one
into its suffocating light and air.
Structure becomes an element of belief,
And grammar a catechist,
Their words what the beads say,
words thumbed to our discontent.






Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam,  25 augustus 1935)








De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.


Uit: House of Meetings


“Now that wouldn't be a bad opening sentence for the narrative proper, and I am impatient to write it. But not yet. "Not yet, not yet, my precious!" This is what the poet Auden used to say to the lyrics, the sprawling epistles, that seemed to be lobbying him for premature birth. It is too early, now, for the war between the brutes and the bitches. There will be war in these pages, inevitably: I fought in fifteen battles, and, in the seventh, I was almost castrated by a secondary missile (a three-pound iron bolt), which lodged itself in my inner thigh. When you get a wound as bad as that, for the first hour you don't know whether you're a man or a woman (or whether you're old or young, or who your father was or what your name is). Even so, an inch or two further up, as they say, and there would have been no story to tell--because this is a love story. All right, Russian love. But still love.

The love story is triangular in shape, and the triangle is not equilateral. I sometimes like to think that the triangle is isosceles: it certainly comes to a very sharp point. Let's be honest, though, and admit that the triangle remains brutally scalene. I trust, my dear, that you have a dictionary nearby? You never needed much encouragement in your respect for dictionaries. Scalene, from the Greek, skalenos: unequal.

It's a love story. So of course I must begin with the House of Meetings.

I'm sitting in the prow-shaped dining room of a tourist steamer, the Georgi Zhukov, on the Yenisei River, which flows from the foothills of Mongolia to the Arctic Ocean, thus cleaving the northern Eurasian plain—a distance of some two and a half thousand versts. Given Russian distances, and the general arduousness of Russian life, you'd expect a verst to be the equivalent of—I don't know—thirty-nine miles. In fact it's barely more than a kilometer. But that's still a very long ride. The brochure describes the cruise as "a journey to the destination of a lifetime"—a phrase that carries a somewhat unwelcome resonance. Bear in mind, please, that I was born in 1919….”





Martin Amis (
Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)







De Duitse dichter, schrijver, theoloog en cultuur-filosoof Johann Gottfried von Herder werd geboren in Mohrungen op 25 augustus 1744. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.



In Mitte der Ewigkeit


Ein Traum, ein Traum ist unser Leben
auf Erden hier.
Wie Schatten auf den Wegen schweben
und schwinden wir.
Und messen unsre trägen Tritte
nach Raum und Zeit;
und sind (und wissen's nicht) in Mitte
der Ewigkeit . . .





Der Mond


Und grämt dich, Edler, noch ein Wort
Der kleinen Neidgesellen?
Der hohe Mond, er leuchtet dort,
Und läßt die Hunde bellen
Und schweigt und wandelt ruhig fort,
Was Nacht ist, aufzuhellen.







Johann Gottfried Herder (25 augustus 1744 – 18 december 1803)







De Duitse schrijver Maxim Biller werd geboren op 25 augustus 1960 in Praag. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.


Uit: The Mahogany Elephant


“He waited for her for three months. He sorted out his photos, rearranged his books, moved the furniture around, and then he went on waiting. After that, he read all the letters he had ever received and threw most of them away, and then he bought a large map of India and hung it above his bed. Or, rather, he didn’t buy a map of India, but that was what he really wanted to do while he was waiting. He waited and waited, and began to write a story about waiting for her, but he didn’t know how it would end, so he stopped. Finally, he did nothing at all; he didn’t even wait anymore. He was sleeping less and less, eating nothing but bread and tomatoes and yellow supermarket cheese, and then, at last, she came back. They sat together on his sofa, and she said, “It’s been a long time.”

“Yes,” he said, although he had firmly made up his mind to say as little as possible. “It’s been a very long time.”

She had lost weight on her travels, and he didn’t think she looked better than before. She was tired, but then she was always tired; she’d gone away to recover from feeling tired all the time, and now that she was back she was still tired. And she’d grown older. Older or harder or more serious—he wasn’t sure which. There was a gray tinge to her tanned skin, the kind you usually see only on older women. Her smile was much too grave and thoughtful, and her cheekbones were even more prominent than before.

She rose to her feet and left the room. When she came back, she had a bright-colored bag in her hand.

“This is for you,” she said.

“Thank you, my love,” he said. He opened the bag. There was a small, fat black mahogany elephant in it. He put the elephant in his pocket.

“Would you like a drink?” he asked.

“Some water.”

“I bought wine for you.”

“No, water,” she said.

He stood up slowly and grazed her leg with his. Apart from the fleeting kiss when she arrived, it was their first physical contact in three months.

“Really just water?” he called from the kitchen, but she didn’t reply. “Chilled or room temperature?” he asked, and she called quietly back, “Room temperature.”






Maxim Biller (Praag, 25 augustus 1960)





Martin Amis, Johann Herder, Maxim Biller

De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Hij is de zoon van de schrijver Kingsley Amis. Martin Amis werd vooral bekend door zijn tweede roman Dead Babies uit 1975. De titel van het boek veroorzaakte zoveel opschudding en afkeer dat de uitgeverij de titel veranderde voor de paperback versie in Dark Secrets. Zijn werk wordt dan ook gekenmerkt door moreel en mentaal geweld. Dit heeft hij gemeen met de schrijversgeneratie uit de jaren vijftig, the Angry Young Men. Amis experimenteert graag: met vorm, stijl, maar ook inhoud. Hij gebruikt Amerikaans Engels, straat-Engels en dialecten van verschillende minderheidsgroepen in zijn romans.


Uit: Yellow Dog


“The couple stood embracing in a high-ceilinged hallway. Now the husband with a movement of the arm caused his keys to sound in their pocket. His half-conscious intention was to signal an ?.impatience to be out. Xan would not publicly agree, but women naturally like to prolong routine departures. It is the obverse of their fondness for keeping people waiting. Men shouldn't mind this. Being kept waiting is a moderate reparation for their five million years in power . . . Now Xan sighed softly as the stairs above him softly creaked. A complex figure was descending, normal up to the waist, but two-headed and four-armed: Meo's baby daughter, Sophie, cleaving to the side of her Brazilian nanny, Imaculada. Behind them, at a distance both dreamy and self-sufficient, loomed the four-year-old: Billie.
Russia took the baby and said, 'Would you like a lovely yoghurt for your tea?'
'No!' said the baby.
'Would you like a bath with all your floaty toys?'
'No!' said the baby, and yawned: the first lower teeth like twin grains of rice.
'Billie. Do the monkeys for Daddy.'
'There were too many monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell down and broke his head. They took him to the doctor and the doctor said: No more monkeys jumping on the BED.'
Xan Meo gave his elder daughter due praise.
Daddy'll read to you when he comes back,' said Russia.”



Martin Amis (
Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)


De Duitse schrijver, theoloog en cultuur-filosoof Johann Gottfried von Herder werd geboren in Mohrungen op 25 augustus 1744. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2006.


Uit: Journal meiner Reise im Jahr 1769


“Jeder Abschied ist betäubend. Man denkt und empfindet weniger, als man glaubte: die Thätigkeit in die unsre Seele sich auf ihre eigne weitere Laufbahn wirft, überwindet die Empfindbarkeit über das, was man verläßt, und wenn insonderheit der Abschied lange dauret: so wird er so ermüdend, als im Kaufmann zu London. Nur denn aber erstlich siehet man, wie man Situationen hätte nutzen können, die man nicht genutzt hat: und so hatte ich mir jetzt schön sagen: ei! wenn du die Bibliothek beßer genutzt hättest? wenn du in jedem, das dir oblag, dir zum Vergnügen, ein System entworfen hättest? in der Geschichte einzelner Reiche – – Gott! wie nutzbar, wenn es Hauptbeschäftigung gewesen wäre! in der Mathematik – – wie unendlich fruchtbar, von da aus, aus jedem Theile derselben, gründlich übersehen, und mit den reellsten Kän[n]tnißen begründet, auf die Wißenschaften hinauszusehen! – – in der Physik und Naturgeschichte – – wie, wenn das Studium mit Büchern, Kupferstichen und Beispielen, so aufgeklärt wäre, als ich sie hätte haben können – und die Französische Sprache mit alle diesem verbunden und zum Hauptzwecke gemacht! und von da aus also die Henaults, die Vellys, die Montesquieu, die Voltaire, die St. Marcs, die La Combe, die Coyers, die St. Reals, die Duclos, die Linguets und selbst die Hume's französisch studirt: von da aus, die Buffons, die D'Alemberts, die Maupertuis, die La Caille, die Eulers, die Kästners, die Newtone, die Keile, die Mariette, die Toricelli, die Nollets studirt; und endlich die Originalgeister des Ausdrucks, die Crebillons, die Sevigne, die Moliere; die Ninons, die Voltaire, Beaumelle u. s. w. hinzu gethan – das wäre seine Laufbahn, seine Situation genutzt, und ihrer würdig geworden!”





Johann Herder (25 augustus 1744 – 18 december 1803)


De Duitse schrijver Maxim Biller werd geboren op 25 augustus 1960 in Praag. Biller is kind van joods-Russische ouders die in 1970 naar Duitsland emigreerden. Hij studeerde in Hamburg en München literatuur en journalistiek en schreef o.a. voor Der Spiegel en Die Zeit. Zijn romans en verhalen werden in verschillende talen vertaald. Biller debuteerde in 1990 met de verhalenbundel Wenn ich einmal reich und tot bin.


Uit: Sieben Versuche zu lieben


„Das erste Mal saßen sie im Kindergarten in der Slavíkova nebeneinander beim Essen und zeigten sich unter dem Tisch ihre kleinen Geheimnisse. Sie mußte nur ein bisschen ihre Beine öffnen, er knöpfte seine Hose auf. Im Kindergarten war es immer ziemlich dunkel, und sie sahen nicht viel. Nach dem Mittagessen zogen alle Kinder in den großen Schlafraum. Jirka ging langsam hinter Alena her und war traurig, daß sein Bett nicht neben ihrem stand. Danach spielten sie zusammen, daran konnte er sich noch erinnern, aber er wusste nicht mehr, was sie spielten. Als sie von ihren Eltern abgeholt wurden, sagten sie sich nicht auf Wiedersehen. Sie schauten weg, und am nächsten Tag redeten sie nicht miteinander. Ein paar Tage später kniff Alena sich selbst so lange in den Unterarm, bis er feuerrot war. Sie schrie vor Schmerz, und als sie in den Armen der Kindergärtnerin lag, sagte sie weinend, das sei Jirka gewesen.

Alena und Jirka waren Kinder von Vinohrady. Es war ihnen damals egal, aber später dachten sie beide oft daran. Er wohnte mit seinen Eltern in der Mánesova, oben am Platz, wo die große viereckige Kirche mit der durchsichtigen Uhr stand. Wenn das Fenster in seinem Zimmer offen war, hörte er die Straßenbahnen, die auf der Vinohradská fuhren. Sie wohnte in der Chopinova. Sie musste nur die Chopinova überqueren, schon war sie im Park. Dort sahen sie sich oft, und kurz bevor seine und ihre Familie ’68 in den Westen flüchteten, traf er sie auf der Seite des Parks, von der man auf die Stadt heruntersehen konnte.“




Maxim Biller (Praag, 25 augustus 1960)



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