Reading made me a traveler; travel sent me back to books.
Theroux, Paul. Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads (p. 293).
Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
As I walked through Riverwood-I remembered some of the times gone by, when I had read other stories here.
The Libyan short stories by writers like Wahbi Bouri, Sadik Nehoum, or the story of Bomma-the slave, whose life is followed by Amitav Ghosh-in his book-In an Antique land.
Relating to these stories, like Hotel Vienna-set in Benghazi in the post World War II period, made me recall my own trips to Benghazi-Tobruk-Shahat(Cyrene)-Susa in quieter times and the broadening of perspectives which one got by talking to long-term expatriate workers of Libya and exploring Byzantine time mosaics in Eastern Libya with them.
Now, many years later, reading and reflecting on these in Riverwood area of Mississauga, and reading the notes from the “Reading journal” which I keep, gives added meaning. Keeping a Reading Journal is a great way to deepen one’s humanity. What does a particular work tell about the human condition? What is the context in which the arc of development of a character progresses? How does relation with the other structures of society impact the character? …
And so on.
This led me to the exploring of stories written by writers like Alice Munro, (Nobel prize in literature-2013) with stories set in Ontario. These give a window into the lives of Canadians which a normal ‘new’ immigrant will not usually come across, as they are more involved in settling down, getting their credentials verified, finding a job, and staying connected with the threads of life which they left behind. For an earlier perspective- read the discussion on Alice Munro’s story-Runaway- on a trip returning from Guelph in January 2014.
It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends
Joan Didion, Goodbye to All That
As we returned from Guelph University in the snow, we discussed –Runaway-by Alice Munro.
LIBYAN SHORT STORIES-WAHBI BOURI’S HOTEL VIENNA-SET IN BENGHAZI -1950s
IN AN ANTIQUE LAND-AMITAV GHOSH-The story of Bomma- who came from what is modern Tunisia today, stayed in Egypt, went to Aden, then to Western India-stayed there for around 2 decades and was a trusted assistant of his owner, built a life for himself in India
But the slave of Khalaf’s letter was not of the company of the consequential people like wazirs, sultans, the chroniclers, and the priests –the people who have the power to inscribe themselves physically upon time…in this instance, it was a mere accident that those barely discernible traces that ordinary people leave upon the world happen to have been preserved. (From Amitav Ghosh’s –In an Antique Land) ..Readings in Riverwood-in the morning- on the bench in memory of Zachary Jelovsek,(1995-2014).Taken much too soon