Best reads 2007: Stephen Coan

2007-12-05 00:00

My best read of the year was Gore Vidal’s first volume of memoirs, Palimpsest, a rollercoaster ride through 20th century politics and the arts. Vidal seems to have been involved in everything and known everybody, plus is related to the Kennedys. Vidal has never been shy and Palimpsest is heroically irreverent and indiscreet, so it was all the more surprising to find at its core a poignant story of lost love.

By way of contrast, Alec Guinness’s My Name Escapes Me is a model of reticence. Subtitled Diary of a Retiring Actor, it is the diary Guinness kept during the mid-1990s and in which he skillfully weaves together theatrical reminiscences with thoughts on religion, books, art and music, as well as precise observations of the natural world.

Another uncluttered piece of writing is of little consequence — Capetonian Steve Shapiro’s second collection of haiku (the first, in a borrowed tent, won the Ingrid Jonker prize in 1996). Although a Japanese poetic form, Shapiro’s work is unmistakeably South African in flavour (there are even a few in Afrikaans). Here’s an English one: “having counted/only half the stars/the cricket sleeps”.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.