I finished Salmon Rushdie’s The Golden House two days ago. I picked up this his latest novel because I was intrigued that he uses it for a vehicle to comment on the United States in its current disarray. His thinly disguised portrayal of President Trump as a man he calls The Joker is a very minor part of the book. Unlike some of Rushdie’s other works this novel is pretty light reading. It’s a very cinematic telling of a story. Cinema itself is important to the entire novel. The narrator is a film maker who is gathering materials for a film by observing a father and his three sons who have immigrated from India under mysterious circumstances. There is more than a whiff of Hitchcock in the air, including references to Rear Window since most of the story takes place in New York neighborhood like the one in Rear Window and there is a lot of snooping going on.
Now some stuff from my morning reading and listening.
San Francisco Sailing on Under Earth
by Lars Gustafsson
When the light falls across the hills
they light up like fire, one last moment,
the whole city drinks the light.
The first white men to see Alcatraz
found the island teeming with penguins:
solemn, comical birds who died easily.
The Chinese were called in by Morgan, ten dollars,
not in wages but once and for all
and died like flies building their railroads—
no Chinese women permitted
but ten or twelve came anyway,
all of Chinatown from eleven Chinese wombs
and the sick young girls from Canton
were locked up in cellars to die.
Emperor Norton, Sovereign Ruler of the United States
Protector of Mexico, Instigator of the Union Square Christmas tree
verdigris running along his epaulets
died easily one winter’s night.
If you keep quiet you can hear the Creoles dancing.
Schooners, galleons, four-masters, barks
whole city districts consist of sunken ships
filled with sand, anchored like sisters
close to on another.
All of the Embarcadero rests on a subterranean fleet.
The Pan am Building, the Bank of America
the skyscrapers are standing on decks far down in the depths
and that fleet sails on under the earth.
translated by Yvonne L. Sandstroem
From Invisible Cities by Italo Calvinon:
“And when my spirit wants no stimulus or nourishment save music, I know it is to be sought in the cemeteries: the musicians hide in the tombs; from grave to grave flute trills, harp chords answer one another.” p. 48 translated by William Weaver
Seems to be an actual house on Penn State campus in Pennsylvania. Cool links and info.
A related site. Tons of recordings of poets reading their work in the archive.