Ludovica grows up in fear of what might come out of the sky. She feels, whenever braving the great unroofed, ‘fragile and vulnerable, like a turtle whose shell had been torn off’. What ill fortune, then, that she lives in the sky. With her sister and brother-in-law she inhabits the ‘huge apartment on the top floor of one of the most luxurious buildings in Luanda’. Two days before Angolan independence in November 1975, the couple do not return home; men, who believe that there is a stash of diamonds in the apartment, arrive with crowbars and insist that Ludo ‘fetch the stones’. She shoots one of them instead. His pals leg it. She gives him water. She sings to him. She buries him on the terrace
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Perception is a weird thing. Lawrence Durrell saw Hydra as a ‘great horned toad’ but Henry Miller thought it resembled a ‘huge loaf of petrified bread’. Niko Ghika painted it as a series of neat white and orange squares.
The minimalist Fumio Sasaki 'confesses that as he began to purchase fewer consumer goods, his meals shrank in size. He decluttered and lost weight. Accumulation is not just an economic way of life but a form of embodiment too. Enlightenment is reduction.'
'The river’s desecration mirrors Colombia’s long history of violence: "for years we treated it like a sewer," says Ahmed, a survivor of a particularly brutal paramilitary massacre, "just like we treated each other".'
Patrick Wilcken on the Magdalena.