Dark as the Grave wherein my Friend is Laid
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A pocket book from a second hand market in Geneva (Switzerland).
Provient du marché des bouquinistes pl. de la Fusterie, à Genève, devant le temple. Jamais lu Malcolm Lowry jusqu'ici, un auteur de plus à découvrir. (Penguin Modern Classics)
Curieux de découvrir ce roman (2nde main) format poche d'un auteur que je n'ai encore jamais abordé. Il entrera dans la cat. du Bingo 2019 (plus de 25 points au Scrabble avec le titre).
René Magritte as a cover picture ! This painting cannot be confused with anyone else's work. Magritte, La Voix du Sang (Voice of Blood). Magritte remains a painter for our time, as its work is full of nonsense. That's not The Empire of the Light ("L'Empire des Lumières") as this "Empire" consists in several paintings by René Magritte. This painting (cover image) is "La Voix du Sang", Voice of Blood.
Some elements about Malcolm Lowry.
We are on our honeymoon.
We're always on our honeymoon.
Five years -
'Sigbjorn, you do expect me to be an expert on the weirdest subjects.' Primrose was laughing.
The most supernatural and mysterious of birds, shearwaters… glided, rather than flew, making use of the currents of air in their vast and lonely voyages.
(A shearwater is a seabird… Many species belong to the genus "Puffinus". (Fr. puffin, p. ex. "puffin à bec grêle", "puffin du Westland", "puffin de la Nativité", etc.) Family: Procellaridae. (from procella, in Latin, "storm")
Taxco is a Mexican town: Taxco de Alarcon (MX) is located in the Mexican State of Guerrero.
The municipality (Taxco) coat-of-arms is an Aztec glyph. The glyph is in the shape of a Mesoamerican ballcourt with rings, players and skulls. A Mesoamerican ballcourt was a large structure to play the Mesoamerican ballgame.
'Sigbjorn is Lowry - a writer unable to write; a middle-aged lord Jim, inept and fearful - bound on a pilgrimage to rediscover the past.'
S. and Primrose visit Mexico (country) Many places have already a meaning to S. as it is his "pilgrimage" to MX. "We're not wealthy Americans, we're poor Canadians", this sentence becomes almost a motto at the hotel, at a restaurant, etc. We understand that there is a former Mexico story with Ruth, as Sigbjorn loved Ruth 9 years earlier (1936) This main trip to MX takes place in 1945. Ruth and S. broke up sharply and S. traveled back by bus, feeling humiliated. This personal drama took place before WWII.
Sigbjorn - a Scandinavian first name. Bjorn / bear.
Quauhnahuac, this is Cuernavaca, MX, described by Lowry, Quauhnahuac sounds more or less like the Aztec Nahuatl language name of the city, which was re-invented by the Spaniards, they imagined cuerna de vaca, cow's horn. - Cuauhnāhuac in Nahuatl, "surrounded by trees".
About Cuernavaca on Wikipedia.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is mentioned in the book. The Basilica is a main place of pilgrimages in Mexico (Atrio de las Américas). At the time of Dark as the Grave… there was only the Old Basilica. But as this place of worship was sinking (much of Mexico City was built on a former lake...) it was necessary to build a new one. A new, more spacious basilica was built.
- Et tu, Brute… Don't tell me you've heard of Drunkard's Rigadoon this far south.
Rigadoon, I was right, it's rigaudon (dance), Rigaudon, rigodon, rigadoon. Le rigaudon du poivrot, la danse de l'ivrogne, in French.
'Sort of, what do you call it, a plagiarism.' Eddie was persistent as a hornet.
(Et tu, Brute, i.e. Tu quoque fili, or more probably καὶ σὺ τέκνον Kai sy teknon, You as well, child… Rome, March 15, 44 BC)
P. 159: 'Dancing the Raspa'. La Raspa is a Mexican dance from Veracruz.
P. 163: 'I liked him very much. I was sorry to see him go… the house and the mescal and everything…" Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from agave.
Para todo mal, y para todo bien, también. (Mezcal producers' motto, i. e. "for everything bad, and for everything good, as well") More details on the Spanish version here, mezcal (Spanish language article)
'What would you call it ?'
'Dark as the Grave wherein my Friend is Laid.'
'Again you are being greedy, Why not just My Friend is Laid ?'
Sigbjorn wants to reach Oaxaca, six years after he met Fernando. He wants to meet Fernando again… Oaxaca Estado Libre y Sovrano, Mexican State of Oaxaca.
Pp. 258-259, Sigbjorn and Primrose visit Mitla, a Zapotec archaeological site close to the city of Oaxaca. Informations in Spanish about Mitla (in Spanish).
It is allowed to see the visit at Mitla arch. site as a dramatic trip – the sad news have reached Sigbjorn.
S. has to stop drinking too much in the home country of mezcal and tequila. Temptation remains powerful. Esp. because S. can’t finish his book. MX is haunted by unborn books even by a burned down story. The reader holds a book about these virtual books but there is a book as well, “Dark as the Grave wherein my Friend is Laid”. I liked this story. “Dark…” mixes a nostalgic feeling and its opposite pole, Sigbjorn tries to avoid meeting a friend in Oaxaca.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Eh bien, vous avez découvert quelque chose...
Un livre abandonné exprès !
N'ayez pas d'hésitation: donnez votre avis, ou racontez votre découverte, cela nous plaît de savoir ce que deviennent les livres "libérés" ainsi.
Le narrateur retourne au Mexique. Pas seul. Sa femme l'accompagne. La nostalgie ne protège pas des imprévus.