Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Snow CountrySnow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kawabata has been put, I think rightly, in a literary line that can be traced back to seventeenth-century haiku masters. Haiku are tiny seventeen-syllable poems that seek to convey a sudden awareness of beauty by a mating of opposite or incongruous terms. Thus the classical haiku characteristically fuses motion and stillness.Similarly Kawabata relies very heavily on a mingling of the senses.(Kindle Locations 35-37)

In Snow Country Kawabata has chosen a theme that makes ameeting between haiku and the novel possible.(Kindle Locations 42-43)

The girl's face seemed to be out in the flow of the evening mountains. It was then that a light shone in the face. The reflection in the mirror was not strong enough to blot out the light outside, nor was the light strong enough to dim the reflection. The light moved across the face, though not to light it up.It was a distant, cold light. As it sent its small ray through the pupil of the girl's eye, as the eye and the light were superimposed one on the other, the eye became a weirdly beautiful bit of phosphorescence on the sea of evening mountains. (Kindle Locations 127-131)

A ballet he had never seen was an art in another world. It was an unrivaled armchair reverie, a lyric from some paradise.He called his work research, but it was actually free, uncontrolled fantasy. He preferred not to savor the ballet in the flesh; rather he savored the phantasms of his own dancing imagination, called up by Western books and pictures. It was like being in love with someone he had never seen. (Kindle Locations 262-265)

There was something lonely, something sad in it, something that rather suggested a beggar who has lost all desire. It occurred to Shimamura that his own distant fantasy on the occidental ballet, built up from words and photographs in foreign books, was not in its way dissimilar. (Kindle Locations 425-427)

For a moment he was taken with the fancy that the light must pass through Komako, living in the silkworms' room, as it passed through the translucent silkworms. (Kindle Locations 538-539)

He was chilled to the pit of his stomach--but someone had left the windows wide open. The color of evening had already fallen on the mountain valley, early buried in shadows. Out of the dusk the distant mountains, still reflecting the light of the evening sun, seemed to have come much nearer. Presently, as the mountain chasms were far and near, high and low, the shadows in them began to deepen, and the sky was red over the snowy mountains, bathed now in but a wan light. Cedar groves stood out darkly by the river bank, at the ski ground, around the shrine. (Kindle Locations 610-614)

A chill swept over Shimamura. The goose flesh seemed to rise even to his cheeks.The first notes opened a transparent emptiness deep in his entrails, and in the emptiness the sound of the samisen reverberated. He was startled--or, better,he fell back as under a well-aimed blow. Taken with a feeling almost of reverence,washed by waves of remorse, defenseless, quite deprived of strength--there was nothing for him to do but give himself up to the current, to the pleasure of being swept off wherever Komako would take him. (Kindle Locations 696-700)

Before a white wall, shaded by eaves, a little girl in "mountain trousers" and orange-red flannel kimono, clearly brand-new, was bouncing a rubber ball. For Shimamura, there was autumn in the little scene. (Kindle Locations 1036-1038)

It was through a thin, smooth skin that man loved. Looking out at the evening mountains, Shimamura felt a sentimental longing for the human skin. (Kindle Locations 1058-1059)

When he was far away, he thought incessantly of Komako; but now that he was near her, this sighing for the human skin took on a dreamy quality like the spell of the mountains. Perhaps he felt a certain security, perhaps he was at the moment too intimate, too familiar with her body. (Kindle Locations 1064-1066)

He had stayed so long that one might wonder whether he had forgotten his wife and children. He stayed not because he could not leave Komako nor because he did not want to. He had simply fallen into the habit of waiting for those frequent visits. And the more continuous the assault became, the more he began to wonder what was lacking in him, what kept him from living as completely. He stood gazing at his own coldness, so to speak. He could not understand how she had so lost herself. All of Komako came to him, but it seemed that nothing went out from him to her. He heard in his chest, line snow piling up, the sound of Komako, an echo beating against empty walls. And he knew that he could not go on pampering himself forever. (Kindle Locations 1465-1470)

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Moon PalaceMoon Palace by Paul Auster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pensa alla soddisfazione, spiegavo loro, di ficcarsi a letto sapendo che stai per sognare sulla letteratura americana dell’Ottocento. (6)

Una stanza spoglia e sudicia si era convertita in un luogo di interiorita’, in un punto cruciale di strani presagi e misteriosi eventi arbitrari. Continuai a tenere lo sguardo fisso suul’insegna del Moon Palace, finche’ piano piano capii che ero arrivato al posto giusto, che in quell’appartamentino era veramente il luogo dov’ero destinato a vivere. (23)

Le nostre vite sono determinate da molteplici contingenze, - dissi, cercando di essere il piu’ possibile conciso, - ogni giorno combattiamo contro simili shock e accidenti al fine di mantenere il nostro equilibrio. E’ una lotta a cui, due anni fa, per motivi al tempo stesso personale e filosofici, ho deciso di rinunciare. Non perche’ volessi uccidermi - non deve pensare nulla del genere -, ma perche’ ritenevo che abbandonandomi al caos del mondo, lo stesso mondo avrebbe potuto finire per rivelarmi un’armonia segreta, una forma o una struttura che mi avrebbe aiutato ad approfondire me stesso. Il punto era accettare le cose come sono, andare alla deriva con il fluire dell’universo. (89)

Il sole e’ il passato, la terra il presente e la luna il futuro. (106)

Al centro della tela - nel preciso centro geometrico, mi parve - c’era una luna piena di perfetta rotondita’, un pallido disco bianco che illuminava tutto quel che c’era sopra e sotto: il cielo, un lago, un grande albero dagli eterei rami e le basse montagne sull’orizzonte. (150)

Non si puo’ sapere in che punto della terra ci si trovi, se non in rapporto alla luna o a una stella. (167)

La seconda coazione era piu’ sottile, eppure esercitava su di lui un’influenza ancora piu’ forte, riassumendosi nel concetto che alla fine i materiali di cui disponeva si sarebbero esauriti. Il numero dei tubetti di colore e delle tele di cui disponeva non era illimitato: se voleva continuare a lavorare, doveva consumarli. L’esito finale l’aveva pertanto avuto presente fin dall’inizio. Gia’ mentre dipingeva quei quadri era come se sentisse il paesaggio svanire davanti agli occhi. (185)

Ah! Come se le coincidenze esistessero. (212)

Non riesco a vederti nelle vesti di un bibliotecario, Fogg.
Riconosco che e’ strano, pero’ credo di esserci portato. In definitiva le biblioteche non appartengono al mondo reale. Sono posti separati, ricettacoli del pensiero puro. In quel modo posso continuare a vivere sulla luna per tutta la vita. (233)

A tanto si riduce tutta questa storia, pensai. A una serie di occasioni mancate. (269)

… bastava che continuassi a camminare per capire che mi ero lasciato alle spalle me stesso, che non ero piu’ la persona di un tempo. (327)

Poi dalle alture fece capolino la luna. (328)

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Nicholas NicklebyNicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“Oh,” growled Ralph, with an ill-favoured frown, “you are Nicholas, I suppose?”
“That is my name, sir,” replied the youth. (40)

Mr. Squeers was standing in a box by one of the coffee-room fireplaces, fitted with one such table as is usually seen in coffee-rooms, and two of extraordinary shapes and dimensions made to suit the angles of the partition. In a corner of the seat was a very small deal trunk, tied round with a scanty piece of cord; and on the trunk was perched - his lace-up half-boots and corduroy trousers dangling in the air - a diminutive boy, with his shoulders drawn up to his ears, and his hand planted on his knees, who glanced timidly at the school master from time to time with evident dread and apprehension. (48)

Mrs. Squeers then proceeded to open a miscellaneous collection of letters, some enclosing money, which Mrs. Squeers “took care of”; and other referring to small articles of apparel, as caps and so forth, all of which the same lady stated to be too large or too small, and calculated for nobody but young Squeers, who would appear indeed to have had most accommodating limbs, since everything that came into the school fitted him to nicety. His head, in particular, must have been singularly elastic, for hats and caps of all dimensions were alike to him. (109)

A few - and these where among the youngest of the children - slept peacefully on with smiles upon their faces, dreaming perhaps of home; but even and again e deep and heavy sigh, breaking the stillness of the room, announced that some new sleeper had awakened to the misery of another day, and, as morning took the place of night, the smiles gradually faded away with the friendly darkness which had given them birth. (157)

But men are so different at different time! (204)

Such is hope, Heaven’s own gift to struggling mortals; pervading, like some subtle essence, from the skies, all things, both good and bad; as universal as death, and more infectious than disease. (239)

It was a cold, dry, foggy morning in early spring; a few meagre shadows flitted to and fro in the misty streets, and occasionally there loomed through the dull vapour the heavy outline of some hackney-coach wending homewards, which drawing slowly nearer, rolled jangling by, scattering the thin crust of frost from its whitened roof, and soon was lost again in the cloud. At intervals were heard the thread of slipshod feet, and the chilly cry of the poor sweep as he crept shivering to his early toil; the heavy footfall of the official watcher of the night pacing slowly up and down and cursing the tardy hours that still intervened between him and sleep; the rumbling of ponderous carts and waggons, the roll of the lighter vehicles which carried buyers and sellers to the different markets; the sound of ineffectual knocking at the doors of heavy sleepers - all these noises fell upon the ear from time to time, but all seemed muffled by the fog, and to be rendered almost as indistinct to the ear as was every object to the sight. (276-7)

“I think ,” said Smike, “if you were to keep saying it to me in little bits, over and over again, I should be able to recollect it from hearing you.”
“Do you think so!” exclaimed Nicholas. “Well said. Let us see who tires first. Not I, Smike, trust me. Now then. ‘Who calls so loud?”
“Who calls so loud?” said Smike.
“Who calls so loud?” repeated Nicholas.
“Who calls so loud?” cried Smike. (332-3)

Lord Frederick Verisopht was the first to speak. Dropping his slippered foot on the ground, and, yawning heavily, he struggles into a sitting posture, and turned his dull languid eyes towards his friend, to whom he called in a drowsy voice.
“Hallo!” replied Sir Mulberry, turning round.
“Are we going to lie here all da-a-y?” said the lord.
“I don’t know that we’re fit for anything else,” replied Sir Mulberry; “yet awhile, at least. I haven’t a grain of life in me this morning.”
“Life!” cried Lord Verisopht. “I feel as if there would be nothing so snug and comfortable as to die at once.” (334-5)

“How is it that you, who are so kind and good to me, have nobody to be kind to you?” asked Smike. “I cannot make that out.”
“Why, it is a long story,” replied Nicholas… (376)

In exact proportion as Ralph Nickelby became conscious of a struggling and lingering regard for Kate, had his detestation of Nicholas augmented. It might be, that to atone for the weakness of inclining to any one person, he held it necessary to hate some other more intensely than before; but such had the course of his feelings. (439)

“I have been, Mrs. Snawley,” said Mr. Squeers, when he had satisfied himself upon this point, “I have been that chap’s benefactor, feeder, teacher, and clother. I have been that chap’s classical, commercial, mathematical, philosophical, and trigonomical friend. My son - my only son, Wackford - has been his (Smike) brother; Mrs Squeers has been his mother, grandmother, aunt, - Ah! and I may say uncle too, all in one… (495)

John Browdie helps Smike.
“Presently,” resumed John “he did coom. I heerd door shut doonstairs, and him a warking oop in the daark. ‘Slow and steddy,’ I says to myself, ‘tak’ your time, sir - no hurry.’ He cooms to the door, turns the key - turns the key when there warn’t nothing to hoold the lock - and ca’s oot ‘Hallo there!’ - ‘Yes,’ thinks I, ‘you may do thot agean, and not waken anybody, sir.’ ‘Hallo, there,’ he says, and then he stops. ‘Thou’d betther not aggravate me,’ says schoolmeasther, efther a little time. ‘I’ll brak’ every boan in your boddy, Smike,’ he says, efther another little time. Then all of a soodden, he sings oot for a loight, and when it cooms - ecod, such a hoorly - boorly! ‘wa’ats the matter?’ says I. ‘He’s gane,’ says he, - stark mad wi’ vengeance. ‘Have you heerd nought?’ ‘Ees,’ says I, ‘I heerd street door shut, no time at a’ ago. I heerd a person run doon there’ (pointing t’other wa’ - eh?) ‘Help’ he cries, ‘I’ll help you,’ says I; and off we set - the wrong wa’! Ho! ho! ho!” (539)

Many and many a time in after years did Nicholas look back to this period of his life, and tread again the humble quiet homely scenes that rose up of old before him. Many and many a time, in the twilight of a summer evening, or beside the flickering winter’s fire - but not so often or so sadly then - would his thoughts wander back to these old days, and dwell with a pleasant sorrow upon every slight room in which they had so often sat long after it was dark, figuring such happy futures - Kate’s cheerful voice and merry laugh… (628-9)

“She is come!” said the old gentleman, laying his hand upon his heart. “Cormoran and Blunderbore! She is come! All the wealth I have is hers if she will take me for her slave. Where are grace beauty and blandishments like those? In the Empress of Madagascar? No. In the Queen of Diamonds? No. In Mrs. Rowland who every monrning bathes in Kalydor for nothing? No. Melt all these down into one, with the three Graces, the nine Muses, and fourteen biscuit-bakers’ daughters from Oxford Street, and make a woman half as lovely. Pho! I defy you.” (638-9)

It was one of those scenes of life and animation, caught in its very brightest and freshest moments, which can scarcely fail to please; for it the eye be tired of show and glare, or the ear be weary with a ceaseless round of noise, the one may repose, turn almost where it will, on eager happy and expectant faces, and the other deaden all consciousness of more annoying sounds in those of mirth and exhilaration. Even the sunburnt faces of gipsy children, half naked though they be, suggest a drop of comfort. It is a pleasant thing to see that the sun has been there, to know that the air and light are on them every day, to feel that they are children and lead children’s lives; that if their pillows be damp, it is with the dew of Heaven, and not with tears; … that their lives are spent day to day at least among the waving trees, and not in the midst of dreadful engines which make young children old before they know what childhood is, … (642-3)

“The man that came to me last night!” whispered Gride, plucking at his elbow. “The man that came to me last night!”
“I see,” muttered Ralph, “I know! I might have guessed as much before. Across my every path, at every turn, go where I will, do what I may, he comes!” (702)

“Well, my Slider!” said Mr. Squeers, jocularly.
“Is that you?” inquired Peg.
“Ah! it’s me, and me’s the first person singular, nominative case, agreeing with the verb ’it’s,’ and governed by Squeers understood, as a acorn, a hour; but when the h is sounded, the a only is to be used, as a hand, a heart, a highway,” replied Mr. Squeers, quoting at random from the grammar, “at least if it isn’t, you don’t know any better, and if it is, I’ve done it accidentally.” (735)

“Measles, rheumatics, hooping-cough, fevers, agers, and lumbagers,” said Mr. Squeers, “is all philosophy, and the earthly bodies is philosophy. If there’s a screw loose in a heavenly body, that’s philosophy too; or it may be that sometimes there’s a little metaphysics in it, but that’s not often. Philosophy’s the chap for me. If a parent asks a question in the classical, commercial, or mathematical line, say I, gravely, ‘Why, sir, in the first place, are you a philosopher?’ - ‘No, Mr. Squeers,’ he says, ‘I an’t.’ ‘Then, sir,’ says I, “I am sorry for you, for I shan’t be able to explain it. ‘Naturally the parent goes away and wishes he was a philosopher, and equally naturally, thinks I’m one.” (736)


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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Luce d'estate, ed è subito notteLuce d'estate, ed è subito notte by Jón Kalman Stefánsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alla ricerca del senso nella quotidianita’ oppure della Geworfenheit (thrownness) di Heidegger, chissa’ ...

Hai mai riflettuto, del resto, su quante cose siano affidate al caso, su come tutto lo sia? Puo’ essere un pensiero maledettamente sgradevole, di rado si trova nel caso un barlume di senso e la nostra vita e’ dunque poco piu’ di un errare senza meta, questa vita che a volte sembra poter andare per ogni dove e poi s’interrompe in mezzo ad una frase… (11)

C’e chi gli ha chiesto se ha visto manifestarsi Dio, forse e’ piu’ che sufficiente avere il cielo e il latino, le stelle non ti abbandonano mai mentre certo non si puo’ dire altrettanto di Dio. (27)

Le lacrime sono fatte come remi, il dolore e la tristezza vogano. Chi piange a un funerale, piange nondimeno la propria morte e quella del mondo, perche’ tutto muore e alla fine non resta niente. (62)
Ma c’e’ chi si dibatte ancora con l’Amicizia stellare di Nietzsche.

Ma quello che e’ stato e’ stato e non si cancella, e ti cambia il paesaggio interiore in un modo che le parole servono a ben poco. (71)

Del resto si possono dire tante cose sull’essere umano. La maggior parte delle persone ha dentro la bellezza quanto la sporcizia. L’uomo e’ un essere complesso, una sorta di labirinto, ed e’ facile smarrirsi se ci si inoltra per cercare spiegazioni. (142)
Ed e’ ancora lui, Nietzsche, che con la piena cognizione dell’origine se ne aumenta l’insignificanza, ossia non serve a nulla.

Parliamo, scriviamo, raccontiamo di piccole e grandi cose per cercare di capire, di arrivare a qualcosa, di afferrare l’essenza che pero’ si allontana sempre piu’ come l’arcobaleno. Nelle storie antiche si dice che l’uomo non possa guardare Dio, equivarrebbe alla morte, e senza dubbio vale lo stesso per quello che cerchiamo - la ricerca stessa e’ lo scopo, il risultato ce ne priverebbe. E ovviamente e’ la ricerca che ci insegna le parole per descrivere lo splendore delle stelle, il silenzio dei pesci, il sorriso e lo sconforto, la fine del mondo e la luce dell’estate. Abbiamo un compito, a parte baciare labbra; sai per caso come si dice “ti desidero” in latino? E come si dice in islandese? (165)

Questa sera desidero parlare dei possibili confini dell’universo, dei possibili confini dell’esistenza.
Ti puoi immaginare come tutti drizzammo le orecchie.
D’altra parte e’ presumibile che ben pochi di noi avrebbero desiderato sprecare la serata a meditare su questioni del genere, abbiamo gia’ abbastanza da fare nel nostro tempo libero, oltretutto gli studi dimostrano che questo genere di elucubrazioni favorisce l’alcolismo e l’abuso di sonniferi e antidepressivi. L’Astronomo disse che l’uomo non capira’ mai la vita, non si orientera’ mai nelle sue dimensioni, la sua essenza va oltre l’immaginazione eppure allo stesso tempo e’ cosi’ ovvia, cosi’ semplice che non c’e’ modo di afferrarla. Gia’ a quelle parole ci venne il capogiro. (169-70)

… come spesso vanno le cose, il mondo e’ pieno di sogni che non si avverano, svaniscono e si depositano come rugiada nel cielo e si trasformano in stelle nella notte. (171)

E’ rischioso avvicinarsi troppo ai propri sogni, possono renderti fiacco nei confronti della vita, sostituirsi alla volonta’, e cos’e’ un uomo senza volonta’? (198)

… non riesco a liberarmi dal sospetto che sia il caso a governare ogni cosa, che tutto nasca da li’, perfino goni senso ed ogni scopo; gli uccelli continuano a volare alti nel cielo, perche’ dovremmo preoccuparci di una cultura, di una civilta’ sopra di noi? (201)

E gli uccelli dipinti sono cosi’ vivi che il gatto del vicinato, un diavolo giallognolo che ci ha privato di ben piu’ volatili di quanto ce ne fosse bisogno, ha continuato a saltare contro il muro per intere settimane, glielo vedevi chiaramente sul muso, e da allora non e’ piu’ stato il cacciatore di una volta, e poi si dice che l’arte non abbia influenza sulla vita. (219)

Ma la vita fugge in ogni direzione e si conclude a meta’ frase, e allora non c’e’ niente di meglio che svegliarsi presto la mattina e guardare la superficie del mare, e lasciar scorrere il tempo.
Il mare, una tazza di caffe’, l’edredone (anatra marina) che cicaleccia, le rocce che si immergono, e poi riemergono a respirare. Due sono le cose che faccio - respirare e pensare a te. (258-9)

… resta li’ a riflettere, guarda il panorama inospitale, scrive: Vado a londra, ci pensa su a lungo, poi mette un punto esclamativo ma se ne pente subito, la frase diventa cosi’ goffa, come se fosse una gran notizia andare dove migliaia di islandesi vanno ogni anno. Sbuffa, si alza, si affretta a comprare un’altra cartolina, ci scrive il nome di lei e poi: Vado a Londra. Punto, niente punto esclamativo. Poi bisogna dare qualche spiegazione, scrive: Il mondo e’ grande. Punto, che dopo averci pensato parecchio trasforma in una virgola: ed e’ ovvio che uno voglia vederne almeno un pezzo. Cosi’ va bene, si appoggia all’indietro soddisfatto, si fa una lunga sorsata di bitta … (280)

Benedikt e’ in un pub con una pinta di birra in mano, guarda la gente che passa fuori, la potenza dei fiumi di vita, pensa alle dimensioni della citta’, alla storia, alla mummia, beve la birra ed e’ completamente spiazzato perche’ tutto questo, la mummia, la moltitudine, la storia, non e’ che una scemenza, niente di niente in confronto ad un’unica donna in un minuscolo paese in una terra lontana da tutto ma vicini all’inverno eterno e al buio soffocante, una terra che sarebbe completamente disabitata se una corrente calda dell’oceano non la lambisse. … Che senso avrebbe il mondo se lei non ci fosse, che cosa ce ne faremmo delle mummie, della storia, della gente, dell’aria azzurra? (283)
Sull’utilita’ e il danno della storia per la vita:
“Chi non sa sedersi sulla soglia dell'attimo, dimenticando tutto il passato, chi non sa stare ritto su un punto senza vertigini e paura come una dea della vittoria non saprà mai cos'è la felicità, e peggio ancora non farà mai qualcosa che rende felici gli altri." Nietzsche

I migliori: Cos'e' analogo al termine "fine del mondo" e Che senso avrebbe il mondo senza di lei?

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