I am reading Ismail Kadare’s The Accident, and it’s pretty great. Taking me a little longer to finish, because his riddling, nested, suspenseful style requires more effort. I wonder what it’s like in Albanian?
I’ll post a review when I’m done, but one note on a line that made me laugh aloud.
The Accident begins with and concerns a car accident in Tirana, Albania, that results in the deaths of two people about whom little is known but much becomes suspected. Agencies from neighboring countries are – perhaps paranoically – worried these seemingly accidental deaths are part of a larger plot and they come to Albania to investigate. Then amidst the descriptions of each of the interested parties’ procedures, Kadare segues thus:
“As usual, the Albanian intelligence officers took a long time to reach a position which the others had already abandoned.”
which caused me to erupt in my first lol of this finely crafted novel.
The Accident, I. Kadare, Onufri Publishing, Tirana, 2008.
I haven’t been blogging or writing in a journal in some time and I think it has had an effect on my mind and my behavior which is suspect for its simplicity and uninspired plodding lately.
The fact of the political circumstance I am now living in is no small part of this situation.
I am a brown-skinned, South Asian immigrant to the United States who has been a naturalized U.S. citizen for 36 years. I am routinely subject to racism and discrimination because of my appearance and name.
Before I open my mouth and speak, no one around me knows I have lived in the U.S. since I was two, have attended all public elementary, middle and high schools and the largest public university in this state – that I am as or more local than anyone in the room. This is a racist and bigoted place.
The two-faced behavior which is taught, encouraged and rewarded by the masters – the ones who seek to maintain their pre-eminence – as equally seeks to contain liberated thought and free will, which are discouraged and ultimately punished, through disconnection and isolation. They hope to drive out those who would not agree.
And now the Slum Lord is the Driver Outer in Chief .
Ultimately the way immigrants like myself behave – the things we say, do and write – are not judged in and of themselves as expressions of a free mind, but rather against an “Americanism” that is shifting, biased, calculated and profoundly racist. Freedom to speak out is curtailed through this and other subtle means.
As Octavio Paz wrote decades ago,
“the North American does not tell lies, but he substitutes social truth for the real truth which is always disagreeable.”
– O. Paz, Labyrinth of Solitude, 1950
… this has grown into a fantastic parallel history in which the North American social truth denies – via the mechanism of retelling the story – the genocide and slavery of its historical real truth, denies and marches on with pipelines and religious intolerance and banning people and ideas.
Sitting here, being me, it is thus, hard to write. I know I’m marginalized. Though less than most because I have worked at some of the biggest publication and broadcast entities in this country. I’m both educated to and have experience of how it works – after years in New York, LA, Silicon Valley.
I also know I need specific and intelligent support to write what I want to write, a supremely competent agent, lawyer and contract with a publisher with power. Sticking it here free for the world without support is just stupid and pointless.
So yeah, back to writing reviews then. I will finish the Kadare and have a full review of The Accident next week.
For decades, in bars at this time of year I have raised a glass and told people,
“It is said that most suicides happen on a Monday and that most suicides take place in the month of January. Therefore if you can get through the last Monday in January, you’ve increased your odds already.”
– M.T. Karthik, date unknown, some time in mid-1990’s, in San Francisco
Today being that last Monday in January,
I wish you all happy travels to the great beyond
and to the rest of you,