Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reading Proust in Baghdad

In central Baghdad , as carp lolled in a circular pool, Al Faris Restaurant owner Haj Hashim said he now served fried fish to 10 or 12 tables of customers a night, up from only two tables a month ago.
A mile or so away, bookseller Jumaa Mohammed says sales of his newspapers and paperbacks have jumped 60 percent from early this year and 80 percent from a year ago. Now he boasts a table to display them. Before they were spread on the sidewalk.
Between their two establishments, bookstore owner Daoud Mohammed is proud to show his translations of Proust, Melville, Pasternak and Shakespeare. He does so in the dark: power is out again. He sells around 10 books a day, down from about 100 three years ago, but more than earlier this year.

This is quoted from Pat Dollard's blog which is normally not be on my radar. I would think life in Baghdad would not be conducive to reading Proust, but then maybe Proust is the ultimate escapist literature.

If you want one man's slanted view (surely all our views are slanted one way or another, n'est pas?) this is a link to the entire post.

The heat in Boston, but not Baghdad, has finally broken and I am off to the city today for lunch with a friend at the Barking Crab, far away from UID and car bombs.


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