The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

ChabonK&CAfter a fixation with the prose of Hilary Mantel (when she’s writing about Cromwell) I’ve turned back to an old favourite to dip into at leisure: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.

I’ve become sensitive about mispronouncing things lately and I must have missed the book’s clues on how to say the name Kavalier when I first read this gigantic American novel. I’m now busy correcting my auto pronunciation after discovering it’s Kavalier as in Maurice. I’m not sure how old you have to be to get that, Maurice Chevalier died in 1972. But it’s that kind of book, best not to skim…

Via google today I found a Chabon quote which I rather like even though I have little hope of learning from it. Interesting to think about though if reading Chabon’s work:

Re Ray Bradbury’s The Rocket Man:

I think it was when I got to the butterflies — in that brief, beautiful image comprising life, death and technology — that the hair on the back of my neck began to stand on end. All at once, the pleasure I took in reading was altered irrevocably. Before then I had never noticed, somehow, that stories were made not of ideas or exciting twists of plot but of language. And not merely of pretty words and neat turns of phrase, but of systems of imagery, strategies of metaphor.  For the full statement see Washington Post archive

Here’s a summary

Here’s a review

Tasmania bags a Booker

132.Richard Flanagan-The Narrow Road To The Deep North coverYou would think Tasmania’s great writer was front page news on my favourite daily, but barely, Haines decision to try out for NFL was  front and back cover on today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Sure, Richard Flanagan had a nice page 14/15 spread pointed to from the lowest ranked heading below Haines, but who makes these calls? Seriously. Flanagan’s gong is an internationally major achievement, not because he won the Booker but because the prize was an opportunity for a bunch of literati to call it a bloody masterpiece in a competition that is fiercer than ever. I’m a tepid footy fan and Parramatta is my team and  like so many others I’ve admired Haines. His achievements have rightly been celebrated. That’s the immediate past. By SMH putting him up ahead of Flanagan (and that’s how I see it) is to skip the present and say that ambition (future) is more important than actually scoring the goal now. New age nonsense to me. Besides, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is an Australian story the like of which no hero can match by playing footy.

Some people…

Kiewa ValleySheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, was answering one of 10 Questions, a regular feature of Time Magazine when she said this: “…when men make mistakes, they don’t internalize it as their fault, so it doesn’t hurt as much…” The theme of the questions was gender equality, but it struck me that swapping the word “men”  for “some people” would explain why relationships with anyone can come unstuck: only one person is apologizing! The view of Kiewa Valley has no relevance:)

Brick Pit

Brickpit2The Brick pit at Newington, busy as usual with birds – never seen/heard a bell frog though! From the elevated circular boardwalk the smallest water birds, the grebes, seem tiny, even through binoculars. Despite the suspicious green, there must be a ton of fishy creatures in the depths. You can’t see them in the picture but the deep divers, the cormorants and grebes (as well as the coots and ducks) prove this is a prime hunting pool.

No News, but the big ships came to Jervis Bay first!

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Scottish Rocks Jervis Bay

Before the much heralded arrival of the fleet into Sydney Harbour, ships entered Jervis Bay to moor in deep anchorage.  It was hard to get close-ups from the beach at Scottish Rocks, but I liked this view of the cormorants taking a break from fishing, facing the biggest collection of vessels they’d have seen in their short life times. A sea eagle took particular notice, swooping near the sterns as if hoping they might prove to be fishing boats, before soaring high, in show off style.

No crowds!

No crowds!

It may seem remote – but that’s just my inadequate photography. It’s common to watch the navy training in Jervis Bay, one of the reasons it makes such an exciting body of water – helicopters, dolphins, whales, the occasional seal – and gannets  gymnastics.

But to see so many big tough ships, peacefully at anchor, hard to tear oneself away.