I don’t have much to show from Dublin. As a “tourist” I personally wouldn’t go to Ireland just to see Dublin, same as one won’t go to Iceland and spend their whole time in Reykjavik. It’s not like London where you can spend weeks if not months and still not seen everything.
“We’re in Ireland, for heaven’s sake,“
– Tana French “The Likeness”
And Ireland is THIS. Still
“ it was your basic Irish summer day, irritatingly coy, all sun and skidding clouds and jackknifing breeze, ready at any second to make an effortless leap into bucketing rain or blazing sun or both”
Tana French – “In the Woods”
and I was in the city that hosts one of my all time favorite series (Dublin Murder Squad). Also, I have heard about this thing called Irish Breakfast, and I wanted it. Badly. (yes, it was just as heavenly as mouthwatering it looks)
Then, I also wasted quite a bit of time browsing the shelves of Books Upstairs. (sadly didn’t see any Tana French…or anything begging me to take it home, but they have lots of interesting Irish books, and even some bookish t-shirts)
A quick look around the grounds of Trinity College was a must (neat), as well as a walk through the Temple Bar area. Who can resist oohing and awing over those hanging flower baskets? They are unreal… (plus they sell really yummy… chocolate there… at the gift shop). Seeing vibrant graffiti and wall art everywhere was another nice surprise.
On a different slightly haunted note, the place I stayed in Dublin was very nice but… let’s just say it wouldn’t feel out of place in a French novel. (the Irish people might be a lot more religious that I thought… not that I spent any amount of time dwelling on the subject before… but yeah, some interesting conversations were had. ’nuff said)
All in all, Dublin was exactly how I pictured it, yet at the same time, it was nothing like I could have ever imagined… but the (most important) food! I would go back, just to have one more plate of this.
I haven’t done a bookish post in forever, but I’ve just finished Death Sentences by Kawamata Chiaki, a book that was on my to-be-read list for an equally very long time, and just had to pen down a few thoughts. I love me a good sci-fi, and I’ve had some of the craziest, most immersive and just plain mind-bending adventures thanks to Japanese writers.
“through my experiments I eventually discovered the secret affinity obtaining between words and things”
What if reading a book could do… things to you? Like sending you to another… dimension? What if written words had the power to kill? Fascinating stuff really (and kinda in the vein of Ring but it leads down a very different path).
The story alternates between timelines and places (two of my all time favorite cities actually!). We see Paris – Montmartre, the cafes and its surrealist poets and authors – in the ’40s. Then there is Tokyo – our main setting with its publishing houses and a special division going after the mysterious texts – in the ’80s, and (maybe) even the Mars in the future. Or maybe it’s all hallucination… “dobaded” (yes, that was a word… or maybe something else? 😉
As you can probably tell by now, Death Sentences (or 幻詩狩り”hunt of hallucinated poems” in Japanese) is one unique, surrealist, though-provoking ride. Not exactly a roller coaster though. More Japanese-paced (which I like) but it has some kinda dullish moments as well, mostly the parts about the surrealist movement in Paris (that I didn’t care much about). So while I enjoyed getting a taste of Paris from an era long gone, I just had way more fun with the Japan arc (and it characters) in the present (present being the ’80s, as the book was published in 1984)
Overall it was a journey I’ll look back with fond, if a little scrambled (I still feel unsure about some “things”) memories. And the ending was just golden. Did not see it coming at all, and at the same time couldn’t possibly think of a more fitting resolution.
There is an amazing resemblance between the qualities of gold and of time. I have come to understand why alchemists were so taken with gold. They didn’t want gold. They were trying to control time, life itself.