Monday, 20 March 2017

The latest book I have read ...

I have always been keen on reading travel diaries particularly related to countries I have either been to or feel I will travel to some day. Whether they have been written recently or sometime ago has never determined my choice, once gettting to know a place may also imply trying to get to know what it was like before it started being "explored" by adventurers of all sorts.
Annemarie Schwarzenbach is a name I had never heard of, neither the fellow writer companion she travelled with in her Ford from Geneva through to Afghanistan in 1939, Ella Maillart and whose odissey reflections I have had the privilege of reading over the weekend.

Her memoir episodes as described in All the roads are open: The Afghan Journey are somewhat captivating because of the lyrical form she has adopted. Despite being a personal account it is not deprived of the epoch's historical and social context, which in itself provides an indepth  and a rather profound description of the surrounding atmosphere.
I have loved it so much that I now feel tempted to further explore certain aspects of its author's life, once the introduction to the book provides very few. As always I couldn't help writing down some extracts ...

" I can't always tell memories from dreams and often mistake dreams coming to life in colours, smells, sudden associations, with the eerie secret certainty of a past life from which time and space divide me no differently and no better than a light sleep in the early hours".

" The journey that many may take for an airy dream, an enticing game, liberation from daily routine, freedom as such, is in reality merciless, a school that accustoms us to the inevitable course of events, to encounters and losses, blow upon blow."

"We cannot really love what we haven't seen with our own eyes or held in our arms, even nostalgia isn't but a form of solitude which exhales and drains itself of its substance". 


Note: The last quotation has been freely adapted from the Portuguese translation of its original German version.

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