“Ellington could connect all the dots—the social, the modernist, the intellectual, the populist, the personally poetic—for a vision of American music truly epic in scope. As great as Evans was, he didn’t have that kind of command. Fifty years ago, the basic connection to a larger audience was slipping away. The integrity of the song was getting diluted by the scale. A kind of darker and mysterious undercurrent was giving way to something lighter in affect. For those concerned with the future of this esoteric art, it is always wise to go back and study Duke—“A flame that lights the gloom.” The answers are there if we remember to look.”
“A mí lo que en realidad me interesa es el mundo, pero parto de mi experiencia en el mundo. Yo lo veo con muchos escritores, una tendencia al Yo, una liviandad, eso a mí no me interesa. Me interesa mirar, que el mundo entre en la novela. Los otros: tratar de desentrañar el misterio de los otros. La mirada es pensamiento. Hay procedimiento ya en el momento en que miras, encuadras.”
“Few moments in history have been so crowded with narcissists: incapable of acknowledging the existence of others, unwilling to permit state and civil society—with their strange, confusing, downright offensive cult of taxes, regulations and public services—to impede their quest for monopolizing the mind, muscles, heart rate, and blood of every breathing person on earth. The Mormons, with their registries of the unsaved, have beaten Silicon Valley to the hosts of the dead—but it’s safe to assume that this, too, will not last.”
“One time in the forest I was sketching trees and trying to learn their names. I caught a cold. I was in bed and it did not seem like I would live long. Will I die? I asked. My mother said, Even if you die I will give birth to you again. I asked, Wouldn’t it be a different child? And she said, I will teach that child all of the things that you know, all of the books you’ve read.”
“The differences are becoming harder to define. It used to be much easier to tell a UK and a US cover apart for example. Type styles would give the game up. Today colour preferences seem to be more of a giveaway: the French remain superstitious about the colour green and brown covers are very unwelcome in the UK. I feel like I am able to create more subtly suggestive covers for Editions Zulma since the French book market is less visually aggressive than ours. In the main, book covers are allowed to communicate quietly and the experience of a French bookshop is noticeably more serene as a result. Use of photography is prevalent but French publishers seem less interested in arresting readers with eye-grabbing images or cheap tricks.”
“I calmly listen to this distant melody, I look, from high up, at all these men, all these souls still walking around us: who was Liszt, who was Berlioz, who was Wagner and all the people they knew, Musset, Lamartine, Nerval, an immense network of texts, notes and images, clear, precise, a path visible by me alone that links old Hammer-Purgstall to a whole world of travellers, musicians, poets, that links Beethoven to Balzac, to James Morier, to Hofmannsthal, to Strauss, to Mahler, and to the sweet smoke of Istanbul and Tehran…”.