Archive for the ‘José Saramago’ Category


[READ: December 23, 2021] “The Fire Balloons”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

This is the kind of story that unfolds itself, proving to be too big for itself.

It is about a king who feared death.  So he ordered a cemetery to be built in the center of the kingdom with very high walls.  Everyone currently buried would be dg up and moved to the new cemetery.

This takes extensive time and involves many years of building a digging (often with one piece sufficing as an entire body). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: WILD BELLE-“Love Like This” (Field Recordings, June 26, 2013).

This Field Recording [Wild Belle: Reggae-Tinged Romance Amid The Big Bikes] is set in the El Segundo-based South Bay Customs motorcycle shop.

It doesn’t seem totally appropriate for the keyboard driven pop of Wild Belle, but there’s something about singer Natalie Bergman’s voice–a little gravelly, a hushed kind of whisper that seems apt.

Wild Belle singer Natalie Bergman seemed a bit confused upon the band’s arrival. … But once we walked past the front doors, we quickly realized that this wasn’t your everyday L.A. bike shop. South Bay’s walls are lined with eccentric oddities, and the facility also houses an art gallery and a performance space for local musicians.

So it was fitting that in a coincidental twist, she told us that she’d be embarking on a motorcycle ride across the Midwest with a close friend in the next month.

“Love Like This” certainly has a reggae-tinged vibe.  I especially like the interesting echoing guitar sounds.  It’s got a catchy chorus, but the whole song seems to have such a relaxed vibe that it makes me laugh to here her nonchalantly sing

My heart’s on fire
You light me up, and I can’t cool down
Your love is wild
You’re dangerous

The song picks up and is certainly catchy.  And while I do actually like her voice, I can’t imagine more than one song from them.

[READ: February 6, 2018] “A New Paradise, or a New Hell”

This is an excerpt from the novel Death with Interruptions. It was translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa.

It is a fascinating story with existential implications. Although I cannot imagine how this could be stretched into a novel.

On the first day of the new year, no one died.  In the whole country, not a single person died the whole day.  It was unprecedented.  There were many accidents, several life-threatening, bit no one actually died.  It was especially noticeable because the venerable queen mother who was known to be on the verge of her last breathe also did not die. (more…)

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