First taste of freedom

First taste of freedom

Freed from labour camp in September 1953, following the demise of Stalin, the few survivors still standing left the camp and headed for the nearby village, where they were given a simple, spontaneous and sensitive welcome.As I was thinking this a girl between eight...
A grandfather’s love

A grandfather’s love

The Hungarian poet Faludy gives an enticing description of his grandfather, seen through a boy’s eyes.  I like how he pitches his speech appropriately for a child, consciously or not.  Also the idea that his words sunk into the young mind, and were understood...
Freedom from alarms

Freedom from alarms

One of the joys of leaving a job is the growing awareness that waking becomes a natural process, rather than an aural shock.  This doesn’t necessarily mean waking late, just naturally, and I still get up as early as I ever did, about six in the winter and five...
Of life and lilac

Of life and lilac

This man is one who returns from the dead, from decades in a gulag in Siberia, released during one or another political thaw.  He returns to ‘normal’ life, and it is interesting to see the signs of it which make him realise it had continued even as he was...
Unsullied attitude

Unsullied attitude

Shirley is among the less known works of Charlotte Bronte.  At a time when women had considerably fewer options in deploying their energies and talents, Shirley is a strong character with attitude and resources.   I loved the ‘Pah to all that’ feeling in...
Life regained

Life regained

This comment on life regained is all the more poignant for the context – the protagonist survives a Nazi concentration camp only to then find himself living in another species of totalitarian state. But there is that astonishing moment when he realizes he has...
Frantic or free?

Frantic or free?

One of the most powerful ripostes to any attempt at ensnarement or wing-clipping, there is something timeless and transcendent in Jane Eyre’s clarity.  Mr. Rochester tries to bind her to him but soon learns that nothing will drive her away faster. ‘Jane,...
Of life and the world

Of life and the world

This expansive quotation comes from a wonderful novel by Mia Couto, in which a father tries to escape his past by isolating himself and his children from the world, even when this means brutally clipping their young wings.  Among other things he forbids them to read...

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