Whilst travelling I read some books to pass the time, and I continue to be amazed at how slowly The Waves goes - not in a bad way, though. Beautiful words, beautiful sounds, that you want to take your time with - like how you always have to slow down during a hurried morning commute when part of it takes you through a lovely park.
In between picking up and putting down The Waves, I read the rest of The Old Patagonian Express, and happily Paul Theroux found a bunch of things he liked. And wrote about it so engagingly that now I want to go to Patagonia, even though the bit about Patagonia was a tiny part of the book. The friend of the F-word that we stayed with in Berlin is Chilean so I could pick his brains a little about it. Maybe one day I'll move there. It just seems so beautifully quiet and I could go for weeks and weeks without seeing people. Of course I'd go utterly barking mad, but having seen what it's like growing old without madness that doesn't seem so bad. Anyways, yesterday by chance in the bookstore close to work I found The Great Railway Bazaar, a Theroux book about crossing Asia by train, so in a few days I might want to grow old and mad in Vietnam - we'll see what he has to say.
Also read The Conformist from Alberto Moravia, as I'd liked the Bertolucci film with Jean Louis Tritignant or however you spell his bloody name so much. The book was different; there was some surrealism to its unremitting narrative realism, to its dictation of Marcello's scared and ignoble thoughts, but not the same as in the film, not as colourful, not as sexy, not as violent - god, that murder scene in the film for example. Wasn't in the book, or rather was in the book, but third-hand, and altogether nobler, less like a messy, horrifying murder. The book read like a cautionary tale being told to you by a literary, well-meaning uncle, and while the narrative was 100% warning you about Marcello by taking his point of view, you learnt far more about the side characters, like his poor wife Giulia, than in the film, where the tangential characters are side more than fleshy effects. But then the film had some marvellous images. Both recommended.