Some cool the pick up artist images:
Quiet Jesus, I’m Reading
Image by Robert Burdock
I picked this up from the sorting office not more than an hour ago and I’m still staggering around ‘drunk’ with bookish intoxication. It’s one of the books I ordered a few days ago, and I’m really, really, really excited about reading it.
In case you can’t tell from this tight shot of the exquisite cover (no artist credit. Designed in-house?), this is Shusaku Endo’s Silence (Peter Owen), and although I’ve never read any of the works from this Japanese writer before, this is a novel I’m hugely looking forward to reading (I may have briefly mentioned that already )). Check out the blurb:
Silence is the story of an idealistic Portuguese Jesuit priest, Father Sebastian Rodrigues, who in the 1640s sets sail for Japan determined to help the brutally oppressed Japanese Christians and to rediscover the truth about his former mentor, who is rumoured to have rejected ‘glorious martyrdom’ and apostatized. But once faced with the reality of religious persecution Rodrigues is himself forced to make an impossible choice: whether to abandon his flock or his God.
Fantastic, and what’s more this most recent edition from Peter Owen Publishers also comes with a foreword from Martin Scorsese. Does reading life get much better than this? I think not!
The hardest part now is putting this novel in it’s rightful place at the bottom of my reading pile and waiting patiently until it comes up. Emm…wouldn’t it be a real shame if I accidently toppled the pile and forgot what books went where? )
Peter Owen | 2007 (UK) | £10.95 | PAPERBACK | 320 PP | ISBN 9780720612868
Image by Robert Burdock
Such are my reading tastes that I rarely find the kind of books that I like in the 2nd-hand shops in my local town (does that sound snobby? It isn’t meant to ). Imagine my surprise then when I strolled into one such local shop on Saturday, and picked up this beautiful pair of translated titles, which coincidentally are both from Turkish authors. Result? I should say so!
The first book will, I’m sure, need no introduction. Orhan Pumak’s My Name is Red is famous around the world as a literary work which not only explores sixteenth-century Istanbul and the outside cultures which influenced it, but it’s also a bit of a murder mystery novel too. A strange juxtaposition perhaps, but from what I’ve heard this is a mix that makes for compelling reading. Here’s the official blurb (for anyone who doesn’t know anything about this novel:
In Istanbul, in the late 1590s, the Sultan secretly commissions a great book: a celebration of his life and his empire, to be illuminated by the great artists of the day – in the European manner. But when one of the miniaturists is murdered, their master has to seek outside help. Did the dead painter fall victim to professional rivalry, romantic jealousy or religious terror?
So that’s a quick rundown on Pumak’s My Name is Red, a novel which has until now eluded me.
The second novel, Yaşar Kemal’s The Wind from the Plain may not be as quickly recognised by some, but its author probably will be. Having written 24 novels – the most famous of which is probably Memed, My Hawk (İnce Memed) – Kemal is considered to be one of Turkey’s top authors. The Wind from the Plain, first published in the vernacular as Orta Direk in 1960, is the first novel in what has become known as the ‘Wind from the Plains Trilogy’, with two subsequent novels – Iron Earth, Copper Sky (Yer Demir Gök Bakır), and The Undying Grass (Ölmez Otu) – carrying on the story that this first one establishes. So what kind of story does The Wind from the Plain establish? Well, get a load of this synopsis and tell me that it doesn’t get your literary juices flowing:
Each year the wind brings the news to old Halil’s keen senses that the cotton is ripe for picking in the plain, and at his word the entire population of his remote village in the Taurus Mountains set out on the arduous trek to earn by their toil enough to pay their debts and buy the necessities of life for the bitter highland winter.
But this year old Halil finds himself too old to go on foot; so does Long Ali’s ageing mother Meryemdje, and both clamour for a place on the back of Long Ali’s broken-down nag, once a pure-bred Arab steed stolen by Ali’s brigand father, now scarcely capable of of bearing either of the two old people. Halil’s determination to stay on and Meryemdje’s to get him off lead to a word of words and cunning which lights with delicious comedy the sombre drama of the march. But when the decrepit animal finally dies, and the group falls behind the rest of the villagers, it is the unfortunate Ali who has to show piety towards his mother and compassion to old Halil, while pressing on with dogged resolution to reach the cotton fields before they are picked bare.
So what do you think of that folks? I think it sounds exquisite – like a Turkish version of Grapes of Wrath perhaps – and I can’t wait to dive in. And on a side note I was delighted to discover that Kemal’s own wife, Thilda is employed as the English translator for many (all?) of his novels. How endearing! What a lovely thing, to work alongside one’s wife on such an intimate level. I couldn’t ever see me and Mrs Rob working together like that, so closely
So two fine novels from Orhan Pumak and Yaşar Kemal. What a delightful catch, and right on my doorstep too. What’s more, I’m delighted to discover that there’s someone else in my small town whose taste for translated fiction is similar to my own. I can only hope now that that person is on something of a quest to relieve their bookshelves of more translated fiction. My vigil on the 2nd-hand shops in my local town begins
So fellow reader, Orhan Pumak? Yaşar Kemal? What is your own reading experience of these two Turkish novelists? I’d love to hear your own thoughts.
Image by overseastom
I recently purchased a few of these artist’s sketch dolls because I love their looks and I’d maybe like to make some freeze-framed animations with them. Not necessarily stop motion but more like a line of these all at a various stage in a particular movement. Anyway, that’s the plan, but I’ve only got two so far (and one is still waiting at the Post Office to be picked up) so it’ll have to wait. I can make some dialogue shots perhaps…
This is the exact pose the model was in when I opened the box and I already love it. It’s all gangly and awkward looking I think his head is on backwards too! Poor bugger, I’ll get him right soon enough.
This is just shot against my bedroom curtains cos it’s a bright and sunny morning and they light up quite nicely under direct sun. I know it’s really saturated, but I love the colours so I’m keeping it this way (for now, at least). I’m a bit wary, because I remember reading one of the inimitable Trey Ratcliife’s blog posts about how the rods or cones in our eyes can only handle looking at saturated parts of a picture for a brief while, before they need to look to a calmer part of it to recharge. I hope the figure itself can provide that little island but if not, maybe I will tone it down a bit. Cheers people, your input will be most appreciated