Brian Moore, Charles Wright, Martin Amis, Johann Herder, Maxim Biller

De Ierse schrijver. Brian Moore werd geboren in Belfast op 25 augustus 1921 in een groot katholiek doktersgezin. Zijn middelbare schooltijd herinnerde hij zich als een ramp. In de Tweede Wereldoorlog trad hij in dienst van het Britse Ministerie voor Oorlogstransporten en was actief in onder meer Algerije, Italië en Frankrijk. In 1948 vestigde hij zich in Canada en verwierf het Canadese staatsburgerschap. Vanaf de jaren 1950 begon hij te schrijven, waarvoor hij zich altijd afzonderde van zijn gezin en vrienden. In 1964 hertrouwde hij met zijn tweede vrouw, Jean Denney, bij wie hij zich veel gelukkiger voelde. Een jaar later verhuisden ze naar Californië, waar hij in 1999 overleed. Zijn meest verkochte roman, The Lies of Silence (1990) is een thriller die speelt in Belfast. Moore maakte zich zorgen over de waanzin en ‘dodelijke ziekte’ waar Noord-Ierland volgens hem aan leed.

Uit: Catholics


“The fog lifted. The island was there. The visitor walked to the end of the disused pier and saw it across three miles of ocean, riding the sea like an overturned fishing boat. Morning sunlight moved along a keel of mountain, above valleys black as tarred boat sides.

He thought of Rome. Surprisingly, the order itself had little descriptive information. In the Lungotevere Vaticano he had been handed an out-of-print book: Weir’s Guide to Religious Monuments.

Muck Abbey, Kerry, Ireland. On a small island off the rocky panoramic coastline of the Atlantic Ocean known as “The Ring of Kerry.” The monastery, (Albanesian order), founded 1216, rebuilt 1400–1470, has a dependency, or cell, on the mainland, the priory of Holy Cross, at Mount Coom near the village of Cahirciveen. This priory, sacked by Cromwellian troops, was, in Penal times, a site for clandestine Mass, conducted in the open air on a “Mass rock” altar. The abbey itself (on Muck Island) escaped Cromwellian despoliation and sits on the western slope of the island overlooking a splendor of sea. From the abbey tower the visitor looks down on gray waves that curl on barren rock. The monks fish and gather kelp.

He had telephoned again before breakfast. The pretty girl at the desk in his hotel cranked up an incredibly old-fashioned device to call exchange. “We’re wanting Muck Island. No, Sheilagh, it’s all right, it’s for that priest who spoke to the island last night.

“There now, Father.” He took the receiver. A bell rang and rang.

“Muck Island One,” said a crackly voice, out in the Atlantic.

The visitor gave his name. He said he had been asked to call and check on the weather.

“What was your name again, now?”

“Kinsella. Father James Kinsella.” He had learned his lesson.

“Ah, Father Kinsella. We’ll send a boat for you, to be sure. Go down to the pier now, and Padraig will be along shortly.”

Gulls, searching the remains of fish, skimmed overhead, dipped to the brackish waters beneath. Behind him, at the end of the road that led to the pier, were three roofless concrete boat sheds, floored with weeds, smelling of urine and sheep droppings. A very old car, which he had thought abandoned, sat in one of the sheds. Yesterday, when he first drove down here searching the fog for a sight of the island, he had looked in at the car. A purple silk stole lay on the front seat. At the hotel, after dinner, he asked who had built this pier. No, the monks had not built it, the Irish government built it, years ago, before the fishing became polluted. At that time, there were some twenty families living on the island. “They’ve nearly all come out since. Scattered now, to the four ends of the world.”



Brian Moore (25 augustus 1921 – 10 januari 1999)



De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Wright werd geboren op 25 augustus 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. Hij volgde opleidingen aan het Davidson College en de University of Iowa. In 1983 ontving hij de National Book Award voor Country Music: Selected Early Poems en de Pulitzer Prize for Poetry voor Black Zodiac in 1998. Voor zijn vertaling van Eugenio Montale’s The Storm and Other Poems kreeg hij in 1979 de PEN Translation Prize. Wright doceert ook Engels aan de University of Virginia in Charlottesville..


Werk o.a: Chickamauga, Buffalo Yoga, Negative Blue, Appalachia, The World of the Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980-1990, Zone Journals and Hard Freight


After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard


East of me, west of me, full summer.
How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard.
Birds fly back and forth across the lawn
looking for home
As night drifts up like a little boat.

Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
Like this mockingbird,
I flit from one thing to the next.
What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
Tomorrow is dark.
Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.

The sky dogs are whimpering.
Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
up from the damp grass.
Into the world’s tumult, into the chaos of every day,
Go quietly, quietly.






Dove-twirl in the tall grass.
End-of-summer glaze next door
On the gloves and split ends of the conked magnolia tree.
Work sounds: truck back-up-beep, wood
tin-hammer, cicada, fire horn.
History handles our past like spoiled fruit.
Mid-morning, late-century light
calicoed under the peach trees.
Fingers us here. Fingers us here and here.
The poem is a code with no message:
The point of the mask is not the mask but
the face underneath,
Absolute, incommunicado,
unhoused and peregrine.
The gill net of history will pluck us soon enough
From the cold waters of self-contentment
we drift in
One by one
into its suffocating light and air.
Structure becomes an element of belief,
And grammar a catechist,
Their words what the beads say,
words thumbed to our discontent.



Charles Wright (Pickwick Dam,  25 augustus 1935)


De Engelse schrijver Martin Amis werd geboren op 25 augustus 1949 in Cardiff, South Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.


Uit: House of Meetings


“Now that wouldn’t be a bad opening sentence for the narrative proper, and I am impatient to write it. But not yet. “Not yet, not yet, my precious!” This is what the poet Auden us
ed to say to the lyrics, the sprawling epistles, that seemed to be lobbying him for premature birth. It is too early, now, for the war between the brutes and the bitches. There will be war in these pages, inevitably: I fought in fifteen battles, and, in the seventh, I was almost castrated by a secondary missile (a three-pound iron bolt), which lodged itself in my inner thigh. When you get a wound as bad as that, for the first hour you don’t know whether you’re a man or a woman (or whether you’re old or young, or who your father was or what your name is). Even so, an inch or two further up, as they say, and there would have been no story to tell–because this is a love story. All right, Russian love. But still love.

The love story is triangular in shape, and the triangle is not equilateral. I sometimes like to think that the triangle is isosceles: it certainly comes to a very sharp point. Let’s be honest, though, and admit that the triangle remains brutally scalene. I trust, my dear, that you have a dictionary nearby? You never needed much encouragement in your respect for dictionaries. Scalene, from the Greek, skalenos: unequal.

It’s a love story. So of course I must begin with the House of Meetings.

I’m sitting in the prow-shaped dining room of a tourist steamer, the Georgi Zhukov, on the Yenisei River, which flows from the foothills of Mongolia to the Arctic Ocean, thus cleaving the northern Eurasian plain—a distance of some two and a half thousand versts. Given Russian distances, and the general arduousness of Russian life, you’d expect a verst to be the equivalent of—I don’t know—thirty-nine miles. In fact it’s barely more than a kilometer. But that’s still a very long ride. The brochure describes the cruise as “a journey to the destination of a lifetime”—a phrase that carries a somewhat unwelcome resonance. Bear in mind, please, that I was born in 1919….”



Martin Amis (Cardiff, 25 augustus 1949)



De Duitse dichter, schrijver, theoloog en cultuur-filosoof Johann Gottfried von Herder werd geboren in Mohrungen op 25 augustus 1744. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.


In Mitte der Ewigkeit


Ein Traum, ein Traum ist unser Leben
auf Erden hier.
Wie Schatten auf den Wegen schweben
und schwinden wir.
Und messen unsre trägen Tritte
nach Raum und Zeit;
und sind (und wissen’s nicht) in Mitte
der Ewigkeit . . .




Der Mond


Und grämt dich, Edler, noch ein Wort
Der kleinen Neidgesellen?
Der hohe Mond, er leuchtet dort,
Und läßt die Hunde bellen
Und schweigt und wandelt ruhig fort,
Was Nacht ist, aufzuhellen.



Johann Gottfried Herder (25 augustus 1744 – 18 december 1803)


De Duitse schrijver Maxim Biller werd geboren op 25 augustus 1960 in Praag. Zie ook mijn blog van 25 augustus 2007.


Uit: The Mahogany Elephant


“He waited for her for three months. He sorted out his photos, rearranged his books, moved the furniture around, and then he went on waiting. After that, he read all the letters he had ever received and threw most of them away, and then he bought a large map of India and hung it above his bed. Or, rather, he didn’t buy a map of India, but that was what he really wanted to do while he was waiting. He waited and waited, and began to write a story about waiting for her, but he didn’t know how it would end, so he stopped. Finally, he did nothing at all; he didn’t even wait anymore. He was sleeping less and less, eating nothing but bread and tomatoes and yellow supermarket cheese, and then, at last, she came back. They sat together on his sofa, and she said, “It’s been a long time.”

“Yes,” he said, although he had firmly made up his mind to say as little as possible. “It’s been a very long time.”

She had lost weight on her travels, and he didn’t think she looked better than before. She was tired, but then she was always tired; she’d gone away to recover from feeling tired all the time, and now that she was back she was still tired. And she’d grown older. Older or harder or more serious—he wasn’t sure which. There was a gray tinge to her tanned skin, the kind you usually see only on older women. Her smile was much too grave and thoughtful, and her cheekbones were even more prominent than before.

She rose to her feet and left the room. When she came back, she had a bright-colored bag in her hand.

“This is for you,” she said.

“Thank you, my love,” he said. He opened the bag. There was a small, fat black mahogany elephant in it. He put the elephant in his pocket.

“Would you like a drink?” he asked.

“Some water.”

“I bought wine for you.”

“No, water,” she said.

He stood up slowly and grazed her leg with his. Apart from the fleeting kiss when she arrived, it was their first physical contact in three months.

“Really just water?” he called from the kitchen, but she didn’t reply. “Chilled or room temperature?” he asked, and she called quietly back, “Room temperature.”



Maxim Biller (Praag, 25 augustus 1960)