visits on art, design, architecture and literature

Category: literature

“Stories and Reflections” Axel Vervoordt and Michael James Gardner


Last spring during a beautiful dinner given by Fergus McCaffrey gallery, New York, as of the historic exhibition Gutai (1953-1959)  I met the writer Michael  James Gardner.  Our evening conversation was on his new publication, a memoir co-written with Axel Vervoordt,  “Stories and Reflections”, published by Flammarion (p hardback, 312 pages).  Axel Vervoordt, Belgian designer and famous curator whose taste and knowledge for rare and beautiful antiques, in modern art, furnishings, and pottery is astonishing.  Michael James Gardner is an American writer and Axel’s son in law.   I was delighted when I received the following afternoon my own copy signed by both authors.

To make this book. we began with a list that Axel made that included one hundred moments from his fascinating life. During a period of time that lasted many weeks, we met as often as we could, Axel started to tell me his stories and I learned many things that I never knew.  In the months that followed, as I listened to the recordings of the time we spent together, it became clear that many of the one hundred moments were connected…One thing leads to another. One story contains many…(Acknowledgements, Stories, and Reflections)


Needless to say that ‘Stories and Reflections”  was my companion through the summer during quiet hot afternoons in the Mediterranean and busy travel time as  the stories  unveiled and weaved in an extraordinary way, from discovering Japanese Gutai art, the decades-long series of exhibitions at Palazzo Fortuny in Venice; the  wonderful insights gained from artists, such as Cy Twombly, Anish Capoor..   By permission from Michael James Gardner, I chose three stories and photos to share here.

Cy Twombly and a Change of Heart 

photo©Jan Liegeois, published in “Stories and Reflections”


One of the last times I saw Cy was at TEFAF. He was interested in an ancient artifact, a Mesopotamian duck weight, circa 1500 BCE. Made of marble, such weights were used for measuring commodities traded in local villages.  He wanted to buy it, and I wanted to deliver it to his house in Italy personally. It was always difficult to reach him to make the travel arrangements. He rarely used the phone. His home in Gaeta was in a remote, hillside village on the coast between Roma and Naples. The best way to contact him was to call a local café, which he went to at the same time every day. …..in 2011, the news arrived: he had died in a hospital in Rome. In remembrance of him, I didn’t want anyone else to have the marbled duck. Today, it has a special place in the library of the castle and I think of Cy wherever I see it. (Stories and Reflections,pp. 194)


Stones and Silence 

photo©Jan Liegeois, published in  “Stories and Reflections”


“I believe stones are created by time and carry the power of the earth. Stones are like silence, slow-living animals-they have a spirit that resonates for thousand and even millions of years. 
…I believe there is a distinctive spirit in different types of stones – my practice is a reminder of that.  It’s a way of giving nobility to an earthy object that looks humble but actually has weight and meaning.”
In our workshop, I have designed floating stone tables using black Belgian slate. The creative process includes simply running my hand over the stone, not to give it the shape that I want, but to respect the shape the stone has already – like its hidden soul – and to use this as a guide in the design. Creating a patina by rubbing our hands over stone objects can be a healing process.  (Stories and Reflections, pp. 202) 


The Story of the Parquet

photo©Jan Liegeois, published in “Stories and Reflections”
While renovating the castle in the mid-1980s. I dreamed of creating a study with a beautiful floor. .. Through a referral, I heard there was something special in the north of Paris 
…A few weeks late, the parquet was delivered to the castle. It was much more beautiful than I could have expected. The designs used a mixture of walnut, rosewood, and maple to make intricate and unique shapes inspired by geometry, with expert precision……
…During that time, the craftsmen in our workshop worked hard for man months to recreate each square. On the day that the parquet was removed from the castle, we replaced the entire floor with our version, The process of producing it was the excellent technical training of our craftsmen. I consider their work to be a masterpiece. (Stories and Reflections, pp145) 


Author’s note: In the process of creating this book. I relied upon my memory of many different experiences in my life. I recounted the stories to my son-in-law in English, which is not my native language. We consulted family members and others who appear in these stories to read drafts, provide edits, or offer their own accounts of the events as we lived them. We researched facts and details when we could. I have changed the names in some cases or omitted them altogether. I occasionally left out certain details, but only when that didn’t change the purpose or emotional truth of the story and why I wanted to share these memories with you. (Axel Vervoordt)

….. you learn also from the ugliness because you either want to make it better or try to accept it. There is no beauty without ugliness. Art made me look at things differently. It opened my mind. I went on my own to England when I was 14 to buy antiques, and then I sold to my parents’ friends. I went to big, beautiful houses, and they had the most amazing art and furniture with Wellington boots out front. They lived in a casual way with beautiful things. In France and other countries, people had expensive things, but you couldn’t touch them. It was only to show riches, and I never liked that. I like things that are close to you that give you spirit. (Axel Vervoordt ” the design is here’, conversation  with Kanye West, by Chris Gardner, April 13, 2018)


“I want to give a different dimension to what I do. I don’t like that word, decorating…Rick Owens speaks with Axel Vervoordt about living in the light and what it takes to make a village.” Interview magazine, July 16, 2014)

Author’s note: The first half of the book tells more of a chronological story of Axel’s life, and the second half he really wanted to add more “reflections” and little lessons that he learned. It is more about mentorship that he received as a child and trying to pay that forward. (Michael James Gardner, May 28th, private note/email to me)

all photos©Jan Liegeois published  by permission directly by the author Michael James Gardner


Munich; a melancholic sunday afternoon reading “Το Παραμυθι της Βροχης” της Τεσυ Μπαιλα

A melancholic Sunday afternoon in Munich glancing again this marvelous book, “Το παραμυθι της βροχης” της Τεσυ Μπαιλα, εκδοσεις  Δοκιμακης.


«Μια φορά κι έναν καιρό», άρχισε να σιγοψιθυρίζει η Χριστίνα, «ήταν μια όμορφη κοπέλα. Φορούσε ένα καφέ φόρεμα και περπατούσε μόνη της σ’ ένα κάμπο. Την έλεγαν Γη. Είχε περάσει πολύς καιρός από τότε που είχε για τελευταία φορά καρπίσει. Τότε που καταπράσινα χορτάρια είχαν φυτρώσει στο μακρύ της φόρεμα και κόκκινες παπαρούνες είχαν γεμίσει όλο τον ποδόγυρό της. Μέσα στη γη, κρυμμένο βρισκόταν ένα σποράκι, ένα τόσο δα σποράκι, που όμως το καημένο δεν μπορούσε να βλαστήσει. Χρειαζόταν νερό πολύ, μια γερή κατεβασιά νερού που θα πλημμύριζε το χώμα της γης και θα το έκανε να ζήσει. Ένα περαστικό συννεφάκι άκουσε το παράπονό του. Στάθηκε πάνω από το χώμα και το ρώτησε γιατί κλαίει. Το σποράκι τού είπε τι συνέβαινε. Με λίγο νερό θα μπορούσε να γίνει ένα κατακόκκινο λουλούδι και να στόλιζε τη Γη. “Και γι αυτό στενοχωριέσαι;” το ρώτησε το συννεφάκι. “Περίμενε και θα δεις”. Έβαλε τα δυνατά του το σύννεφο να κλάψει, σφίχτηκε, ξανασφίχτηκε, φούσκωσε τα μάγουλά του, κόντεψε να σκάσει, μα τίποτα δεν κατάφερε. “Τα βλέπεις;” είπε το σποράκι. “Τίποτα δε γίνεται”. Μάταια προσπαθούσε για ώρα το σύννεφο. Δεν κατάφερνε να κλάψει. Άρχισε να θυμάται πράγματα που είχε δει από ψηλά και το είχαν στενοχωρήσει, μήπως και καταφέρουν τα δάκρυα να βρουν το δρόμο τους προς τη γη. Και πάλι τίποτα. Εκείνη την ώρα έφτασε κοντά στο σύννεφο ένα άλλο συννεφάκι. Το αδελφάκι του ήταν. Ήταν γκρίζο και με δυσκολία μπορούσε να κινηθεί στον ουρανό. “ Τι κάνεις εσύ εδώ;” ρώτησε απορημένο που τόση ώρα το έβλεπε να στέκεται εκεί αμετακίνητο. Το λευκό συννεφάκι τού εξήγησε τι συνέβαινε, του είπε για το σποράκι, του είπε για το κλάμα που δεν ερχόταν.
“Θα σε βοηθήσω εγώ”, του είπε κι άρχισε σιγά-σιγά να κλαίει με ευκολία. Το σποράκι δέχτηκε το νερό που το γκρίζο σύννεφο του χάριζε και μέσα στη δροσιά που εισχώρησε στο χώμα άρχισε να φουσκώνει, να φουσκώνει όλο και πιο πολύ, ώσπου στο τέλος έσκασε, κι ένα μικρό, πράσινο φυλλαράκι, σαν κεραία φύτρωσε στο κεφάλι του. Λίγο καιρό μετά μέσα από το χώμα ξεπετάχτηκε ένα τόσο όμορφο, κόκκινο λουλούδι που άλλο όμοιό του κανείς δεν είχε δει. Το φόρεμα της Γης είχε γεμίσει μαργαρίτες, παπαρούνες και τριαντάφυλλα αλλά όλοι μιλούσαν για το παράξενο λουλούδι που είχε φυτρώσει. Τα συννεφάκια αγκαλιασμένα στον ουρανό καμάρωναν, και το λουλούδι λικνιζόταν στον άνεμο που απαλά φυσούσε τα φύλλα του».

Από το ” παραμύθι της βροχής’ της Τέσυ Μπάιλα!


Η Τέσυ Μπάιλα κατάγεται από τις Κυκλάδες;  γεννήθηκε στον Πειραιά. Σπούδασε Ιστορία Ελληνικού Πολιτισμού και μετάφραση Λογοτεχνίας. Ασχολείται με τη φωτογραφία και ατομικές της εκθέσεις έχουν φιλοξενηθεί στο πανεπιστήμιο Gakugei της Ιαπωνίας και στην Αθήνα. Είναι συντάκτρια του λογοτεχνικού περιοδικού Κλεψύδρα. Παράλληλα δημοσιεύει δοκίμια σε εφημερίδες και περιοδικά. Κυκλοφορούν τα βιβλία της: Το πορτρέτο της σιωπής, εκδ. Έναστρον, ‘Το παραμύθι της βροχής’, εκδ. Δοκιμάκης και ‘Το μυστικό ήταν η ζάχαρη’ και “Ουίσκι μπλε’ εκδ.Ψυχογιός.


Munich;discussion at Haus der Kunst “Intolerable: Giving Offence and the Limits of Free Expression”

Haus der kunst organized on Thursday night, Feb 13th an evening panel with three leading thinkers to engage in a discussion that tried to  illuminate  critical questions.  Panelists were  Matthias Lilienthal (director of the Munich Kammerspiele from September 2015), Hito Steyerl  (filmmaker and author (born in 1966 in Munich) lives and works in Berlin) and Joachim Bernauer  (director of the Goethe-Institut’s department of culture); the moderator is Okwui Enwezor, director Haus der Kunst.

photo 2 copy

“The recent killings of journalists and police guards in the Paris offices of the satirical French magazine “Charlie Hebdo” have brought to public debate fresh appraisals of the relationship between intolerance, free expression, censorship, and the right to offend sensibilities, be they cultural or religious, political, or ideological. But there is not always an easy distinction of where to draw the limit of free speech and who has the right to impose a limit on expression, regardless of how offensive such expression may be deemed.

At the same time, questions posed by the killings in Paris can be analyzed from the view of the current conflicted state of global, multicultural societies. This issue becomes urgent, particularly when giving offence converges with intolerance under the guise of free expression. But is there a point when offensive images, expressions, and representations become intolerable? Is intolerance of certain types of expression the same as censorship of thought? Can there ever be a limitless sphere of free expression in today’s increasingly plural, multicultural, transnational, and global societies? These questions are all the more pertinent within the realm of artistic and cultural practice, particularly as they meet at the point where institutions must provide an open and unrestricted space for challenging ideas and concepts.” (haus der kunst, press release) 

more at Haus der kunst details 

Berlin & New York: lost stories by Truman Capote Are Published

This is amazing!


The news just came out and while I was reading it, I wanted to share as has been published at the New York Times but really it started here in Germany as Four of the stories, believed to have been written from 1935 to 1943, appear in German translations in Thursday’s edition of the German publication ZEITmagazin.

The  Swiss publisher, Peter Haag,  was searching for chapters of Truman Capote’s unfinished final novel last summer when he stumbled upon a different find. While poring over Capote’s writings and papers at the New York Public Library, he  discovered a collection of previously unpublished short stories and poems from Capote’s youth.

Those stories will be seen in German more than a year ahead of the scheduled release of the full collection, a dozen poems and roughly 20 stories, by Random House in English and by Kein & Aber in German. David Ebershoff, who is editing the book for Random House for a December 2015 release, said the decision to publish the four first in German was a nod to Mr. Haag’s research.

Mr. Ebershoff said in an email. “Reading the manuscripts — with his corrections and edits — is fascinating. You can literally see a young genius at work. I don’t use that word lightly, but these early stories show that Capote’s talent and way of experiencing the world was with him from a very young age.”

Even in translation, Capote’s style is immediately recognizable in the short stories, under the titles “Miss Belle Rankin,” “This Here Is From Jamie,” “Saturday Night” and “The Horror in the Swamp,” laced with his incisive attention to detail and themes of longing for love and acceptance, and the transience of life.

Capote, who died in 1984, at 59, is believed to have written these works between the time he was 11 and 19, although not all are dated.

more here http://www.zeit.de/zeit-magazin/leben/2014-10/truman-capote-erzaehlungen-roshani-haag

Mr. Capote said in 1978. ”The thing about people like me is that we always knew what we were going to do. Many people spend half their lives not knowing. But I was a very special person, and I had to have a very special life. I was not meant to work in an office or something, though I would have been successful at whatever I did. But I always knew that I wanted to be a writer and that I wanted to be rich and famous.’ (Albin Krebs on Capote at NY Times, 1984)

what Albin Krebs wrote on August 28, 1984 on Truman Capote after his death ” A Novelist of Style and Clarity”




A visit at The New Yorkr, an incredible story “Sixty Nine Days”

published at the New Yorker, July 7th, 2014

While in Maremma, Italy and indulge on my reading, I found this story “Sixty Nine Days” quite extraordinary.  It is  the ordeal of  the Chilean miners in August 2010. Hector Tobar has given an amazing inside of the mountain and the inside of all the miners being trapped and their lives.


photo by Moise Saman (published photo at The New Yorker, July 7, 2014)

….The San José Mine is situated inside a round, rocky, and lifeless mountain in the Atacama Desert, in Chile. Once every dozen years or so, a storm system sweeps across the desert, dropping a torrent of rain. When that happens, the dust turns to mud as thick as freshly poured concrete. Charles Darwin briefly passed through this corner of the Atacama in 1835. In his journal, he described the desert as “a barrier far worse than the most turbulent ocean.”

….In the early-morning hours of August 5th, two thousand feet belowground, the night shift was finishing its work. Men covered in soot and drenched in sweat gathered in one of the caverns, waiting for a truck that would take them on the forty-minute drive to the surface. During their shift, they had noted a wailing rumble in the distance—the sound of many tons of rock falling in forgotten caverns deep inside the mountain. The noise and the vibrations caused by these avalanches were transmitted through the mountain much as lightning strikes travel through the air and the ground. “The mine is weeping a lot,” the men said to one another.


a visit at New Yorker’s May 26th issue, the week fiction, Alejandro Zambra on ‘Camillo’

Alejandro Zambra, Fiction, “Camilo,” The New Yorker, May 26, 2014, p. 62

GetImage.aspx“I’m Camilo!” he shouted to me from the gate, opening his arms wide, as if we knew each other. “Your daddy’s godson.” It seemed terribly suspicious to me, like a caricature of danger, and I was nine then, already too big to fall for a trap like that. Those dark glasses, like a blind man’s, on a cloudy day. And that jean jacket, covered in sewn-on patches with the names of rock bands. “My dad’s not here,” I told him, closing the door, and I didn’t even give my father the message; I forgot.

But it turned out to be true: my father had been a close friend of Camilo’s father, Big Camilo—they’d played soccer together on the Renca team. We had photographs of the baptism, the baby crying and the adults looking solemnly into the camera. All was well for several years—my father was an engaged godfather, and he took an interest in the child—but then he and Big Camilo had a fight, and later, some months after the coup, Big Camilo was imprisoned, and after he was released he went into exile. The plan was for his wife, July, to bring Little Camilo and meet up with him in Paris, but she didn’t want to, and the marriage, in fact, ended. . . .

more here  http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2014/05/26/140526fi_fiction_zambra

visit my New Yorker recent issue at the culture desk:PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN’S GENIUS posted by Richard Brody

February 2nd, 2014 at the New Yorker

here is the best  I have read  for Philip Seymour Hoffman  loss written by Richard Brody.


“Philip Seymour Hoffman gave one of the greatest onscreen performances that anyone ever gave, in “The Master”; he won an Oscar for “Capote”; from 1991 until now, he acted in what IMDb reckons as sixty-three filmed productions; in recent years, he gathered accolades virtually every time his feet hit the boards of a stage or his face caught the light in a camera; and he began a career as a director. Today, he died, at the age of forty-six, reportedly from a drug overdose. The intimate agony—his partner lost a partner, his children lost a father, his friends lost a friend—is unspeakable except by those who knew and loved him. For those who didn’t know him personally (I never met him), the horror is inseparable from art—the love of his performances, the acknowledgment that there’s nothing more of them beside what’s in the can, and the sense that the torment and the talent are inseparable.

Work that’s only good is limited to its technique; when it’s great, a work is virtually inseparable from the artist’s life because it gives the sense of being the product of a whole life and being the absolute and total focus of that life at the time of its creation. The most depressing thing about “The Master”—in which the art of the director and the actors converged with a rare, white-hot fury from beginning to end—is, now, its basis in substance abuse. The movie begins with the traumatized, transient veteran, Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), fleeing the scene of a likely crime (his homemade alcoholic concoction killed a co-worker on a farm) to stow away on a yacht. The vessel’s owner, Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), seems, at first, merely a bombastic grandee but turns out to be the charismatic leader of a cult. What seals their bond—what transforms Freddie from a mere intruder to a suddenly necessary member of Dodd’s entourage—is the incendiary drink. Dodd’s visionary fires and rage for power are fuelled by the poisonous cocktail that Freddie provides. And Dodd’s intense, tormented, and tormenting self-control is tested all the more by the universal solvent of inhibition. His liberation and his constraint, his attempt to create dependents and his own dependency, are inseparable.

In the tension between flamboyance and rigor, between the flagrant imperatives of power and the intense self-discipline that concentrates it, Hoffman made his own prodigious, sometimes overly conspicuous theatrical prowess the very subject of the film. With terrifying speculations regarding the supreme performer’s motives, he thrust his art and his life, his public face and his sense of identity, into the balance. Plenty of great artists plumb the soul’s depths without recourse to drugs or alcohol, but it’s naïve to discount the connection between artistic ecstasies, self-surpassing exertions, uncommonly powerful desires, and altered states of consciousness.

The controversy over “The Wolf of Wall Street” also involves the allure of drugs; though the movie makes it pretty clear that the character Jordan Belfort acts monstrously under their influence, it also leaves little doubt regarding the pleasures and powers that they provide him and his cohorts. It also suggests the poison pill of imagination, the diabolical—even self-destructive—power of theatrical rhetoric, its eruption from the depths of a soul that hardly dares to consider itself. Hoffman, with his seemingly infinite range of possibilities and self-transformations, was at the diametrically opposite end of the spectrum: he couldn’t help but look at himself, from angles he had never anticipated and in aspects he might not otherwise have fathomed. Genius, whether at its most constructive or destructive, its most sublime or its most repugnant, is unnatural; Hoffman lived for great art, and it’s impossible to escape the idea that he died for it. The complete price of his nearly superhuman ability has yet to be reckoned.”

Athens; Museum of Cycladic Art; “‘Figures’ loved and idealized” illustrating poems by C.P.Cavafy


“Figures loved and idealised ..”  Illustrating poems by C.P.Cavafy

a beautiful exhibition on Thursday morning touring the Cycladic museum

«Figures loved and idealised …». Illustrating poems by C.P.Cavafy

The exhibition “Figures’ loved and idealised …Illustrating poems by C.P.Cavafy” focuses on figures that play a leading role in Cavafy’s poetry. Inspired by the verse “Voices, loved and idealized” from Cavafy’s poem Voices, the exhibition uses archaeological artefacts to illustrate a selection of poems with mythological and, especially, historical subjects, which experts believe comprise approximately one third of Cavafy’s work.

The exhibition is curated by Prof. Nicholas Chr. Stampolidis, Maria D.Tolis, Mimika Giannopoulou

 more on the exhibition 

installation shots here 

a New Yorker visit for the story; Haruki Murakami: Samsa In Love

I love Haruki Murakami for years..  this a recent short  story at the New Yorker. copyright: New Yorker

Samsa in Love 

“He woke to discover that he had undergone a metamorphosis and become Gregor Samsa.

He lay flat on his back on the bed, looking at the ceiling. It took time for his eyes to adjust to the lack of light. The ceiling seemed to be a common, everyday ceiling of the sort one might find anywhere. Once, it had been painted white, or possibly a pale cream. Years of dust and dirt, however, had given it the color of spoiled milk. It had no ornament, no defining characteristic. No argument, no message. It fulfilled its structural role but aspired to nothing further.

There was a tall window on one side of the room, to his left, but its curtain had been removed and thick boards nailed across the frame. An inch or so of space had been left between the horizontal boards, whether on purpose or not wasn’t clear; rays of morning sun shone through, casting a row of bright parallel lines on the floor. Why was the window barricaded in such a rough fashion? Was a major storm or tornado in the offing? Or was it to keep someone from getting in? Or to prevent someone (him, perhaps?) from leaving?

Still on his back, he slowly turned his head and examined the rest of the room. He could see no furniture, apart from the bed on which he lay. No chest of drawers, no desk, no chair. No painting, clock, or mirror on the walls. No lamp or light. Nor could he make out any rug or carpet on the floor. Just bare wood. The walls were covered with wallpaper of a complex design, but it was so old and faded that in the weak light it was next to impossible to make out what the design was.

The room had perhaps once served as a normal bedroom. Yet now all vestiges of human life had been stripped away. The only thing that remained was his solitary bed in the center. And it had no bedding. No sheets, no coverlet, no pillow. Just an ancient mattress.

Samsa had no idea where he was, or what he should do. All he knew was that he was now a human whose name was Gregor Samsa. And how did he know that? Perhaps someone had whispered it in his ear while he lay sleeping? But who had he been before he became Gregor Samsa? What had he been?

The moment he began contemplating that question, however, something like a black column of mosquitoes swirled up in his head. The column grew thicker and denser as it moved to a softer part of his brain, buzzing all the way. Samsa decided to stop thinking. Trying to think anything through at this point was too great a burden.

In any case, he had to learn how to move his body. He couldn’t lie there staring up at the ceiling forever. The posture left him much too vulnerable. He had no chance of surviving an attack—by predatory birds, for example. As a first step, he tried to move his fingers. There were ten of them, long things affixed to his two hands. Each was equipped with a number of joints, which made synchronizing their movements very complicated. To make matters worse, his body felt numb, as though it were immersed in a sticky, heavy liquid, so that it was difficult to send strength to his extremities.

Nevertheless, after repeated attempts and failures, by closing his eyes and focussing his mind he was able to bring his fingers more under control. Little by little, he was learning how to make them work together. As his fingers became operational, the numbness that had enveloped his body withdrew. In its place—like a dark and sinister reef revealed by a retreating tide—came an excruciating pain.

It took Samsa some time to realize that the pain was hunger. This ravenous desire for food was new to him, or at least he had no memory of experiencing anything like it. It was as if he had not had a bite to eat for a week. As if the center of his body were now a cavernous void. His bones creaked; his muscles clenched; his organs twitched.

Unable to withstand the pain any longer, Samsa put his elbows on the mattress and, bit by bit, pushed himself up. His spine emitted several low and sickening cracks in the process. My God, Samsa thought, how long have I been lying here? His body protested each move. But he struggled through, marshalling his strength, until, at last, he managed to sit up.

Samsa looked down in dismay at his naked body. How ill-formed it was! Worse than ill-formed. It possessed no means of self-defense. Smooth white skin (covered by only a perfunctory amount of hair) with fragile blue blood vessels visible through it; a soft, unprotected belly; ludicrous, impossibly shaped genitals; gangly arms and legs (just two of each!); a scrawny, breakable neck; an enormous, misshapen head with a tangle of stiff hair on its crown; two absurd ears, jutting out like a pair of seashells. Was this thing really him? Could a body so preposterous, so easy to destroy (no shell for protection, no weapons for attack), survive in the world? Why hadn’t he been turned into a fish? Or a sunflower? A fish or a sunflower made sense. More sense, anyway, than this human being, Gregor Samsa.

Steeling himself, he lowered his legs over the edge of the bed until the soles of his feet touched the floor. The unexpected cold of the bare wood made him gasp. After several failed attempts that sent him crashing to the floor, at last he was able to balance on his two feet. He stood there, bruised and sore, one hand clutching the frame of the bed for support. His head was inordinately heavy and hard to hold up. Sweat streamed from his armpits, and his genitals shrank from the stress. He had to take several deep breaths before his constricted muscles began to relax. (…)”

read the whole text at the New Yorker: newyorker.com/fiction




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