"That was the deeply paradoxical nature of a confidence: it might draw you in close, but it also contained the seeds of banishment, exile, and even, possibly, annihilation."

-Secrecy, p.61

It’s a very serious book, but this quote is sort of “Mean Girls”, seventeenth-century Florence style.

(via katybudgetbooks)

maudnewton:

I asked the great Rupert Thomson about his next novel, and this is what he said.

It’s called Secrecy, and it’s set in Florence in the 1690s. The Renaissance is long gone and the city is a dark, repressive place, where everything is forbidden and anything is possible. Facing criminal charges, a young man called Zummo — he really existed — is forced to flee his native Siracusa. The crimes he’s accused of are so heinous that they could destroy him. He travels to Palermo, then to Naples, but always has the feeling that his past is on his trail, and that he’ll never be free of it.
Zummo is an artist who works with wax. He’s obsessed with the plague, and makes little wooden cabinets filled with graphic, tortured models of the dead and dying. In his late thirties he arrives in Florence at the invitation of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who is overweight, gloomy, devout and obsessed with  Marguerite-Louise, the woman he was married to, the woman who has left him. Zummo becomes the Grand Duke’s confidant and is asked to make a piece of work that borders on the illicit, a piece of work no one must know about. At the same time, Zummo has met a young woman who fascinates him. It turns out that she’s in possession of a secret even more dangerous than his own… 
It’s a thwarted love story, a murder mystery, an exercise in concealment and revelation, but above all it’s a kind of trapdoor narrative, one story dropping unexpectedly into another, the ground always slippery, uncertain…
Well, you asked!

Also, there’s a sexy scene involving “a pair of scissors and three envelopes.” So excited to read it.

maudnewton:

I asked the great Rupert Thomson about his next novel, and this is what he said.

It’s called Secrecy, and it’s set in Florence in the 1690s. The Renaissance is long gone and the city is a dark, repressive place, where everything is forbidden and anything is possible. Facing criminal charges, a young man called Zummo — he really existed — is forced to flee his native Siracusa. The crimes he’s accused of are so heinous that they could destroy him. He travels to Palermo, then to Naples, but always has the feeling that his past is on his trail, and that he’ll never be free of it.

Zummo is an artist who works with wax. He’s obsessed with the plague, and makes little wooden cabinets filled with graphic, tortured models of the dead and dying. In his late thirties he arrives in Florence at the invitation of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who is overweight, gloomy, devout and obsessed with  Marguerite-Louise, the woman he was married to, the woman who has left him. Zummo becomes the Grand Duke’s confidant and is asked to make a piece of work that borders on the illicit, a piece of work no one must know about. At the same time, Zummo has met a young woman who fascinates him. It turns out that she’s in possession of a secret even more dangerous than his own… 

It’s a thwarted love story, a murder mystery, an exercise in concealment and revelation, but above all it’s a kind of trapdoor narrative, one story dropping unexpectedly into another, the ground always slippery, uncertain…

Well, you asked!

Also, there’s a sexy scene involving “a pair of scissors and three envelopes.” So excited to read it.

"I love you as much as the despair I felt."

—Kyung-Sook Shin’s I’ll Be Right There (via windupbird1995)

I'll Be Right There

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MY grandmother lived in three countries without ever moving. The Bengali village where she was born, married, had five children and became a widow saw its political boundaries change from British India toPakistan to Bangladesh between 1947 and 1971. My grandmother was a storyteller, and when I was growing up in that village, her imagination recreated for me altered allegiances and divided houses.

When I decided to move to Jerusalem with my family in 2005, I was curious about what it would be like to live in a divided city. The partition of Palestineand that of Bengal and Punjab took place within a year of each other and bore similar hallmarks of the hasty withdrawal of the old colonial order.

In Jerusalem, our first house was part of a grand Arab duplex on a street called Emek Refaim, “the valley of ghosts.” It had tall arched windows and ceilings so high that whenever I found myself alone, I had the feeling of being in a church. Later, I would read about the history of this part of West Jerusalem and learn that the house had indeed been owned by a Christian Palestinian family, who were dispossessed following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that was set off by the creation of Israel.

http://bookofwriting.tumblr.com/post/85180810177/my-father-was-a-very-disciplined-and-punctual

bookofwriting:

“My father was a very disciplined and punctual man; it was a prerequisite for his creativity. There was a time for everything: for work, for talk, for solitude, for rest. No matter what time you get out of bed, go for a walk and then work, he’d say, because the demons hate it when you get out of bed, demons hate fresh air. So when I make up excuses not to work, I hear his voice in my head: Get up, get out, go to your work.”

— Linn Ullmann, Linn Ullmann Discusses Her New Novel The Cold Song(interview by Megan O’Grady)