Book Review — The Compass Rose (1982) by Ursula K. Le Guin

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck (2010), there is a great sense of continuity and wholeness. The stories are tied together … Continue reading Book Review — The Compass Rose (1982) by Ursula K. Le Guin

One hundred words on a village community’s relationship with water ::

In the northern foothills of the Alborz mountains, bordering the Caspian Sea, a small village community once existed. It thrived temporarily on the artificial water systems provided to it by a government that lasted not all that long, water pumped from the great dams that watered Tehran on the southern slopes of the mountains, water that ceased to be pumped when certain people ceased to … Continue reading One hundred words on a village community’s relationship with water ::

Winter time ::

[The following is a short story I wrote for the National Portrait Gallery’s The Big Chill: Fireside Tales short story and poetry competition. The prompt was the photo below, which was taken in Sydney by Dr Julian Smith some time in the 1940s. Nothing is known about the subject, so entrants were asked to use her as their inspiration.] Her father’s arm is around her … Continue reading Winter time ::

Two hundred words on a shot that rang out ::

A shot rang out. Blanks, thought Detective Hunt, the thought proving to him twice over in a single instant that he was still alive. First in the realisation’s presence in his mind. His mind was still equipping itself for business. Second in the fact within the realisation. The blanks Espinosa had subbed into Griggs’ gun had rendered his execution stayed. And yet, when Hunt raised his gun with the … Continue reading Two hundred words on a shot that rang out ::

Thomas Mann (1875-1955), on the Purpose of Art ::

Do you think gaudy colours can gloss over the misery of the world? Do you think loud orgies of good taste can drown the moans of the tortured earth? … Art is the sacred torch that must shed its merciful light into all life’s terrible depths, into every shameful and sorrowful abyss; art is the divine flame that must set fire to the world, until … Continue reading Thomas Mann (1875-1955), on the Purpose of Art ::