Gabriel García Márquez died yesterday at age 87 at home in Mexico City; he was a genius and a magician, and we are lucky to have his work so lucent in the canon, the crystallization of a genre that is influential way beyond literature, compressing and exploding so much of human instinct and power and need. Here's his Paris Review Art of Fiction interview ("The trouble is that many people believe that I’m a writer of fantastic fiction, when actually I’m a very realistic person and write what I believe is the true socialist realism"), and a very short story that I love painfully, called "Light Is Like Water." It's about two little brothers and a boat, and it's tiny and simple and a perfect piece of alchemy.
On Wednesday night, like every Wednesday, their parents went to the cinema. The boys, lords and masters of the house, closed the doors and windows and then broke the bulb glowing in one of the living-room lamps. A jet of golden light as cool as water began to pour out of the broken bulb, and they let it run to a depth of almost three feet.
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Infinite mirth, far greater than on the first occasion long ago, when it had had to be explained. Now the company had known that something droll was coming; they were prepared, primed, and they exploded into a roar of honest delight. Tears ran down the Admiral's scarlet face: he drank to Jack when he could draw breath at last, he repeated the whole thing twice, he drank to Dr Maturin's health with three times three and a heave-ho rumbelow;
*delights in this anecdote, in Jack getting it right…and in Stephen who supplied the situation itself* *beams*
We hear of Jack being discreet at sea and trying to teach his middies the rudiments of maths. He is also pityfully thin. He can be a diplomat when needs (his poor palms and legs)
Stephen becomes bossy with Thornton, applies soothing ointment, talks of an endless pudding and is quiet about his spyhatty business. You will certainly come up with many more incidents.
Oh, and Stephen is adored by Thornton’s pug. *g*
'It was very good of you to come,' said Dundas. 'I have been fairly pining for someone to talk to - glum as a gib cat and sick of my own company. There is precious little ship-visiting on blockade. Sometimes I play chess, right hand against left hand; but there ain't much fun in that.'
'What is your wardroom like?'
'Oh, they are a very decent set, upon the whole. They are mostly young men, of course, except for the premier, who is old enough to be my father: I invite them in turn, and dine with them on Sundays, but they are not men I can unbend with, not as who should say really talk to; and the evenings drag on and on, unfriended, melancholy, slow,' said Dundas with a laugh. 'They are people with whom you have to pose as a demi-god from one noon-observation-to the next. I get very tired of it, and I doubt I play the part convincingly. You are most uncommon lucky to have Maturin. Give him my regards, will you? I hope he will find time to come across.'
Hen Dundas. So wonderful to meet him again, so good that even for a short time he has someone to talk to. It’s understandable why some captains liked to have their wives with them.
I like this chapter not only for Hen, but also because we get a plethora of interesting characters. We read of more details about Admirals Thornton, Harte and Mitchell. We hear about Emeriau, Calamy (*pets him*), Martin…and captains like Fellowes, Charlton and Marriot.
Unfortunately for Jack there are also his middies, who hardly understand the Rule of three and were lost on the nature of a logarithm, a secant, a sine.
'They are not supposed to, but they do. So does the army, at least in Sicily. And that makes things even more complicated, though they were complicated enough in the first place, in all conscience, with dozens of rulers, great and small. You never know where you are with the Barbary States, but they are essential for our supplies; while the Beys and Pashas in Greece and up the Adriatic almost never obey the Turkish Sultan they are practically independent princes - and some of them are quite prepared to play booty with the French to gain their ends. The Sicilians cannot be relied upon; and apart from the fact that we must not provoke him at any price for fear of the French, I do not know just how we stand with the Turks.
The political situation in the Med sounds complicated…so not much seems to have changed.
Through Martin we receive explanations about the ensigns denoting the admirals’ stations and court-martials at sea plus the dirty side of the Navy. We might even find out about spies, informers, why someone can be flogged around the fleet and still become and admiral, Milo of Crotona and enterprising rats
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ORPHAN BLACK RELATED LINKS
*Orphan Black at BBC America
*AV Club's Season 2 Orphan Black Review (SPOILERS)
*'Orphan Black's' Tatiana Maslany is no longer just faces in the crowd (SPOILERS)
*Orphan Black review: Tatiana Maslany is dazzlingly impressive to watch (Some S1 Spoilers)
*BBC America's 'Orphan Black' returns, engineered to near-perfection (SPOILERS)
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