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Coronavirus Vienna

When I lived in Istanbul from 2012-16, people often asked me whether I was concerned about terrorist attacks, crime or civil disturbance.

At the end of my walk on 29 March, with wild boar effigy

‘No,’ I would say.  ‘The thing I’m most worried about is being knocked down by a taxi or motorcycle as I try to cross the street.’

Istanbul taxis are famed for their driving style

The same is true in Vienna, in the coronavirus pandemic.  I’m doing what I can to avoid catching the virus: working from home, observing the social distancing rules and so on. My fear is that, as I try to avoid other pedestrians on narrow pavements, or cross unusually empty streets, my concentration will slip and I’ll become a traffic accident. (more…)

Middlemarch is the book for #Coronavirus: 25 epigrams

What to do, when you are stuck at home because of the #coronavirus outbreak?

Read Middlemarch, by George Eliot.

George Eliot’s real name was Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1880

I read Middlemarch recently and posted on its wisdom about sex and relationships (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

Middlemarch is also full of splendid epigrams.  Here are 25 beauties which caught my eye: (more…)

“Vintage Season” – a blog for a coronavirus outbreak

“Three people came up the walk to the old mansion just at dawn on a perfect May morning.  Oliver Wilson in his pajamas watched them from an upper window through a haze of conflicting emotions, resentment predominant.  He didn’t want them there.  They were foreigners.”

Thus begins one of my favourite classic science fiction stories, Vintage Season, published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1946.

It all feels a bit 2020.

C L Moore is one of the husband and wife team who wrote “Vintage Season” but is often credited with being the main author

Vintage Season is about how a man living in the present meets a curiously prosperous and perfect-seeming group of people who turn out to be from the future.  They play him a kind of music – a work of art which transcended all art forms – with imagery of historic disasters. (more…)

Are “The Hotel Stories” feminist?

At a recent reading from my blackly comic “Seven Hotel Stories” in Vienna, a man asked me:

‘These stories seem explicitly feminist. Is that intentional?’

This led to a discussion of “can a man be a feminist?”, to which most of the women present clearly answered “yes”.

My recent reading at “Shakespeare & Co” in Vienna. Great bookshop!

My answer was equally simple: yes, the “Hotel Stories” are intended to have a feminist flavour.

Indeed, an early reviewer of the story “The Two Rooms” commented: “dark, feminist and fun – not three words you often hear together”.

I would be delighted to hear your views. To the question: “Are the Hotel Stories Feminist?” would you say:

(i) yes

(ii) no

(iii) why does it matter?

(iv) some other answer.

If you do not yet own a kindle or paperback copy of Seven Hotel Stories (click on link for Amazon) you can find excerpts from all the stories in this blog – have a browse – including a free copy of The Two Rooms.

Let me know what you think!

Incidentally, another thoughtful person asked me whether I thought the title of my story Seven Ukrainian Girls” (Hotel Story no.8) could be politically incorrect. I urged her to read it and see what she thought. Comments welcome on this, too. You can read the first part of “Seven Ukrainian Girls” at the link.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via my 5 pleasure paths.

 

“Blood Summit” live readings in Berlin 21-22 February

My two live readings in Berlin are coming up.

I shall be reading from my thriller Blood Summit in Berlin on 21 and 22 February.  I will also be doing a tour of the Reichstag and nearby locations where the action in Blood Summit takes place.

A video by Sibylle Trost of me reading from “Blood Summit”.  Now you can see the real thing.

Unfortunately, the tour, first publicised last month, is sold out.  But the readings still have places available:

  • 21 February 18.00, a reading from Blood Summit in a room with a view of the Reichstag generously provided by Mazars GmbH & Co Berlin, Alt-Moabit 2, 10557.  Full details of how to register, plus help with planning your weekend in Berlin, are at this link.  This is a free event.  I will be signing copies of my books Blood Summit and Seven Hotel Stories.
  • 22 February 19.00, a reading from Blood Summit at the salon of Christiane and Ari Großkopf, Bamberger Str. 56, 10777 Berlin.  This is a free event which Christiane and Ari are kindly hosting.  If you would like to attend, please e-mail me on robertpimmauthor@gmail.com with your name(s).  I will also be signing books.

(more…)

Middlemarch: 26 quotes on gender and relationships

I am listening to literary folk on the Queen Mary Literary Festival at Sea (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).  After a powerful Martini in the Commodore Club, a well-read literary editor admits he has never read George Eliot’s classic 1872 novel Middlemarch.  

This depiction of Dorothea and Will Ladislaw does not make “Middlemarch” look a fun, contemporary read

Like some other 19thC fiction, Middlemarch has provoked negative responses or indifference over the years – yet critics now see it as one of the greatest novels in the English language.

I agree, and I don’t.  Middlemarch is a daunting read – over 900 pages in most editions.  Not much happens; there is an immense cast-list of characters; and some of the issues with which it deals, such as the 1832 Reform Act, have faded from memory.

Yet the wisdom (more…)

“Blood Summit” readings in Berlin 21-22 February

It is time to plan your weekend in Berlin.

I shall be doing two readings from my thriller Blood Summit in Berlin on 21 and 22 February.

A video of me reading from “Blood Summit”.  Now you can see the real thing.

Details are:

  • 21 February 18.00, a free reading from Blood Summit in a room with a view of the Reichstag at Mazars GmbH & Co Berlin, Alt-Moabit 2, 10557.  Full details of how to register, plus help with planning your weekend in Berlin, are at this link.  This is a free event.  I will be signing copies of my books Blood Summit and Seven Hotel Stories.
  • 22 February 19.00, a reading from Blood Summit at the salon of Christiane and Ari Großkopf, Bamberger Str. 56, 10777 Berlin.  This is a free event which Christiane and Ari are kindly hosting.  If you would like to attend, please e-mail me on robertpimmauthor@gmail.com with your name(s).  I will also be signing books.

(more…)

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