Saturday, February 06, 2010

Stuck in Mitteleuropa with you

The TBR pile is situated between wars these days, or between Europes, or as close as one can get to between centuries.

First came Rebecca Cantrell's A Trace of Smoke, set in 1931 Berlin. Now are J. Sydney Jones' Requiem in Vienna, which opens with Gustav Mahler conducting a rehearsal of Vienna's Court Opera in 1899; David Downing's Stettin Station, set in Berlin in November 1941; and Olen Steinhauer's The Tourist, which shows that wars (and spy novels) don't end when walls come down.

As I read these books, I'll think about a Europe as exotic and unfamiliar as any African or Asian clime. I'll think about what draws authors to those agitated times and places where eras, civilizations, cultures and religions clash.

These stories all happen where East meets West. What are your favorite borderlands for crime fiction?

While you're thinking, here's the first sentence of Steinhauer's book:
"Four hours after his failed suicide attempt, he descended toward Aerodrom Ljubljana."
Happy reading!

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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67 Comments:

Blogger Loren Eaton said...

It isn't a book, but I absolutely adore the east German spy movie The Lives of Others.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's won awards and popular and critical recommendations left and right. Probably inertia is the only thing that kept me from seeing it in a theater. I'll think about renting it. Thanks.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

I fully agree with Loren, The Live of Others is one of the best films I have ever seen.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I'll third it on Lives of Others.

I'd say that the U.S./ Mexico border is a great border for crime fiction. Had occasion to remember Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy Thompson recently, which starts on the northern side of the border and then crosses down below it as part of the plot. The movie Traffic is all about that border, and there must be countless other stories in one form or another.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The Lives of Others sounds like a classic spy movie -- spy becomes disillusioned, then becomes a target -- with the added topical oomph that he's from the other side.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, the movie "Touch of Evil" comes to mind, as does a novel called "Fifty Grand" by one Adrian McKinty, which gives a Mexican border crossing a supporting role.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

I have in my TBR pile Don Winslow "The Power of the Dog", I expect to read it soon.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Hmm--think I've heard of that Fifty Grand somewhere.

Actually, I should have thought of that border crossing right away.

And actually, Touch of Evil was the movie that was running vividly in my mind, I just couldn't remember the name of it.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've never read Don Winslow, but his name comes up often. I think a lot of writers like his work, which means he's probably worth a look.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I don't blame you for not coming up immediately with Fifty Grand in connection with a U.S.-Mexico border crossing because-- but then, I wouldn't want to plant any spoilers.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Great, time for me to dissent on The Lives of Others:

Great two thirds of a movie but a melodramatic third act with a big deus ex machina moment involving a tram and a ridiculous ending way off the mawkish scale.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Any disagreement, folks? How about the possibility that viewers have so much emotional investment in the first part of the movie that they can't bring themselves to criticize the rest of it?

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

The ending of Lives of Others didnt go on as much as say The Lord of the Rings (there were fewer weeping Hobbits in Lives) but it did go on and on.

The dialogue got sentimental and preachy towards to the end: it doesnt help that the director is an out of touch aristocrat who is desperately trying to fake an understanding of ordinary people and wrote the screenplay in his uncle's castle (or somewhere like that).

For me the movie is saved by the brilliant central performances and the understated accumulation of detail in acts 1 and 2.

Incidentally this post contains two - perhaps - unintentional tributes to one of your bete noirs Quentin Tarantino.

The Stealer's Wheel pun in the title of course is the signature music of Reservoir Dogs and QT himself was so impressed by Lives of Others that he named a character after the director in his disastrous Ingolorious Basterds.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

It's Adrian right to disagree, but I dont think the ending is melodramatic, mawkish or ridiculous at all.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Hmm. I didn't have a problem with the ending. I wouldn't say it was deux ex machina so much as just a plain old machina.

Not wholly irrelevantly, a good friend's cousin was robbed at gunpoint on the streets of the City of Brotherly Love recently. That was bad enough, but then it didn't seem like the guy was going to let her go and was trying to get her to get in a car. She ran out into the traffic, figuring that she would rather be run over than fall into his hands. I know this because luckily she lived to tell it. Anyway, under the influence of heightened emotions, people do run into traffic sometimes.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Quentin Tarantino is inescapable, isn't he? Any tributes are unintentional. I knew "Stuck in the Middle With You" years before Quentin Tarantino's genius was revealed to the world. I always liked the song (and I did not realize at first what a brilliant Dylan tribute or spoof the singing is.)

I may have something more to say on spying based on "The Tourist." Steinhauer is pretty good.

V-word: lights

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jose, if my current reading of "The Tourist" gets me interested in thrillers, I may rent "The Lives of Others." If I do, I will weigh in on this matter.

One theme of Steinhauer's book is that spying did not end once the Berlin Wall came down. Since "The Lives of Others" straddles that dividing line of 1989, I think, it might hold similar interest.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Seana, Jose

Well since we're giving away plot spoilers (!!) let me say that when she ran into traffic I thought to myself "wow thats pretty convenient isnt it?" It solved all the problems of the script and gave us the catharsis the director felt we needed. It would have been much more complicated and interesting if they had all just had to live with their decisions. It would have been harder to show this on the screen and would have taken the screenplay to really interesting territory. But instead Count Von Donnersmarck (or whatever his name is) thinks to himself "how am I going to end this movie? Fuck it, I'll just have my female lead get all hysterical (she is a woman after all) and run out in front of a bus." Cheap.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

So the guy runs into traffic at the end of "Lives of Others"? Guess I don't have to watch the movie now.

I hope your friend's cousin is all right.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, now I know it's a woman who runs into traffic.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Guess it'll be "Odd Man Out" from the video store tonight rather than "Lives of Others."

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Catharsis ... Hmm, I just had an idea for another post.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Sorry, I thought you gave it away with the tram. But I was wrong.

I can see your point, but it still wasn't my experience of it. Also I'm not sure that quietly getting on with things is how people always do react especially when there has been a lot of secrecy.

Sorry again, Peter. It's still worth seeing, but probably not tonight.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

At the end of Odd Man Out the cops shoot him by the Albert Clock in Belfast. Sorry. But you are in America and the Superbowl is on.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, Seana, I'm afraid you're the spoiler this time. A tram by itself did not do the job. The character could have hopped a tram to begin a journey to her new life rather than end her old one.

If a movie or a book is good, it can withstand my knowing the ending in advance. Your remark about quietly getting on with things is fraught with narrative interest. I shall take up this matter in the future.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, Adrian, do you root for Saints other than the ones who play in St. Kilda?

In fact, the movie viewing would be for later tonight or tomorrow. I just want to see "Odd Man Out" so I can see the brawl at the Crown again.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Seana

She gets all hysterical, right? But in my experience running down five flights of stairs can really take the edge of whatever emotion you're experiencing. Yet when she reaches the bottom she's just as panicky as ever. Unlikely. Especially since they're both heavy smokers.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

No, I realize that the blame does lie solely with me. Anyway, we do all seem to agree on the beginning of the movie more or less, and the acting is great.

Shoot. The Superbowl. I just realized that I should have been out walking the empty streets or shopping or going to a movie or something.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Its so good and strange a movie I can even forgive the terrible Belfast accents.

Ok now I'm off to have "Aussie breakkie" and yes root for the Saints.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Well, now that Adrian's off, I'll just muse aloud as to what the conditions have been in his life to cause him to emotionally run down five flights of stairs. Probably some kinds of sports event beckoning.

Enjoy the game everyone. I don't even know when it's on exactly.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger David Snowdon said...

Hi Peter, I've just come across your blog and the comments were interesting. It was nice to learn about some new authors in the crime fiction genre.

David Snowdon the author of A crime To Be Rich, The Mind of a Genius and Too Young To Die.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger solea said...

When i think of La Frontera & crime, what comes to mind is the novel "Desert Blood" by alicia Gaspar de Alba. It's about the ongoing femicide on the ciudad Juarez/El Paso border. This work exemplifies fiction's power to educate and move people to action. I read it in one (terrifying) night and I couldn't sleep afterwards.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I'll head out throught he empty streets on my way to see the game. Mawkish? Csatharsis? Perhaps I'll report back soon.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I don't know how badly the Crown's interior suffered during the Troubles, but it looks today much as it did in the brawl scene. And if you will forgive bad Irish accents, the movie must be something special.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, and what's an Aussie breakkie? Anyting like an Ulster fry?

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter
Seana mentioned 'Ride The Pink Horse' which is a 1946 novel by Dorothy B. Hughes (In A Lonely Place). I have to confess I hadn't heard of her until I read the Rap Sheet post on one of her novels about a week ago. The movie version of RTPH is one of the weirdest 'noirs' I've ever seen and worth watching for it's weirdness alone. Not a patch on 'Touch of Evil', of course.

You're not a Tarantino fan? I didn't know. I liked the first two movies but he lost me after that.

On the subject of thrillers, I've just finished Deon Meyer's Heart of the Hunter. It covers the same territory as Peter Temple's In The Evil Day, which you covered recently, but it does so much more skillfully. At least, in my not so humble opinion.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I think the game would have started about 3:30 p.m. your time. Enjoy your afternoon however you choose to spend it.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

David: Thanks for the comment. It seems you have an interest in spying yourself.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solea, the Ciudad Juarez/El Paso border is a perfect location for new crime stories as well as old ones. I had not heard of "Desert Blood," but the crimes that make up its subject are the most chilling I have heard of.

I wonder why more American crime novelists have not written about Mexico. Or maybe thay have, and I've missed it. And maybe a writer like Paco Ignacio Taibo II just cannot be shocked anymore by anything in Mexico.

I see that Alicia Gaspar de Alba was born practically on the U.S.-Mexico border -- fertile ground for an author's imagination, I would think.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, I knew of Dorothy B. Hughes but noy 'Ride The Pink Horse.'

I don't know much of Tarantino's work, but I find his persona annopying and his on-screen presence unbearable. "Kill Bill" is a beautiful-looking movie that proves an American of European descent can make a convincing movie in the new, glossy martial-arts-influenced style. That's a fine technical achievement, I suppose but to me not much more than that.

We agree, I think that "In the Evil Day" is not top-flight Temple (though its opening is superb). I've read Deon Meyer's "Dead Before Dying," which I think is the first in his current series. I seem to recall it was a bit rought around the edges in the prose department, but that could be due to the translation. But I've wanted to read more of him. Thanks for the recommendation.

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter
I'm suspicious of the term noir. It's current ubiquity makes me wonder if it's anything other than a cheesy marketing label. But the film Touch Of Evil, frequently regarded as the last film noir of the 'classic period', a meaningless classification to me, is, nevertheless, a terrific movie.

I'd rather watch Touch Of Evil than Citizen Kane.

My v-word is xdmousse. I'm afraid it defeats my powers of invention.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know what xdmousse is, but you can probably buy it at food stores in Paris and Lyon.

"Noir" is notoriously open to a wide range of definitions, some of them marketing scams, others products of well-thought-out though divergent interpretations. I've mentioned more than once the session at Philadelphia's Noircon convention in 2008 that explored some of what critics, readers, publishers, bloggers, authors and marketers think of as noir.

"Touch of Evil" takes place in a borderland, but it's a dead end for Hank Quinlan. That's what makes it noir for me.

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter
I've heard Patricia Highsmith described as the Queen of Noir but her principal character (Tom Ripley) gets away with murder in no less than five books. Nothing doom-laden about him.

Noir seems to have more exceptions to the rules than it has rules to begin with.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Solo

I feel Touch of Evil really loses momentum in the middle portion of the film. Great opening and first Act but then it begins to stall.

I'd rather have The Third Man over both Touch of Evil and Citizen Kane.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Aussie breakkie is identical to the Full English.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

The beginning of Touch of Evil was great though. That's the part I remember.

I am not ever going to talk about the end of anything ever again. Which is why I can't ask who won.

I'd say that "noir" does mean something fairly specific, solo, but that you can't trust marketing to get it right.

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Can I get away with the New York/New Jersey border? Or Illinois/Indiana border? Or Wisconsin/Minnesota border?

Internationally, I'd say Italy's borders with Yugoslavia and other countries, Sweden's border with Norway, France's border with Spain.
So many more.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, I've read the argument that noir is purely a visual style and should thus be applied only to movies. Well, yes. And the rest of us are wrong.

I've read just one of Highsmith's books, the non-Ripley "Tremor of Forgery." That story comes to a kind of moral dead end that might suggest noir.

Anyone talking about noir should at least be able to defend his or her definition. The other day a colleague said to me with all the assurance in the world: "Oh, Chandler's noir," a judgment I'm not sure many would make today. I didn't grill him because I wasn't in the nood for debate, but I wonder if he meant something like what I think of as hard-boiled.

Here's an article that asks "What is Noir?"

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, it's been a while since I've seen "A Touch of Evil," so perhaps I remember just the high points. Its momentum may flag a bit, but the parts that flag work as set pieces even if they slow the flow a bit.

Not sure I'd pick "The Third Man" over either of the other two you mentioned.

The first English breakfast I had was served to me in a hotel run by Muslims in Kensington. Only in America.

My local video store says "Odd Man Out" is still out. I suspect the store is just depleting its stock on the way to closing. One branch of the local chain to which it belongs has already shut.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I don't know if the Ripley books are noir or not. I don't think they are, really, but a close cousin maybe. It depends on whether the protagonist must necessarily be doomed, or if a character that brings doom with him qualifies.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, even given your newfound aversion to discussing endings, your comment is a tease. I'd like to hear what noir means to you. I don't think the disagreement over the term's meaning is due to marketing, at least not solely. Critics, fans, maybe even authors are not unanimous.

One definition, maybe Allan Guthrie's, is that the Resurrection is hard-boiled, but the Crucifixion is noir.

To me, the purest noir has the protagonist going willingly to his or her own doom, knowingly or not. Others would drop "willingly" from their definition. I've compared it to obscenity -- I know it when I see it.

"Touch of Evil"'s opening cross-border long shot is one of the most famous in all of cinema, but the movie has other great bits, too. My favorite may be the scenes with Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich.

The Saints won.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Can I get away with the New York/New Jersey border? Or Illinois/Indiana border? Or Wisconsin/Minnesota border?

Internationally, I'd say Italy's borders with Yugoslavia and other countries, Sweden's border with Norway, France's border with Spain.
So many more.


Kathy, you certainly can get away with it -- especially if you can cite crime stories set around those borders.

A number of Canadian crime writers make the U.S.-Canada border part of their stories -- John McFetridge, Howard Shrier. No surprise there, considering the oft-quoted figure that 90 percent of Canada's population lives within 60 miles of the border. Consider that Indian reservations straddle the border, and you have vast potential for crime stories that involve smuggling. And then there's the Republic of Ireland-Northern Ireland border, scene of Brian McGilloway's Borderlands.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I'd have to read some of the Ripley novels first. I'd see to what extent the doom-bringing Ripley creates a moral vacuum and how much that feels like noir.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Even though I am not a sports fan, I am very glad the Saints won. I do feel some kinship with New Orleans for several reasons, and that city deserves this victory.

As for noir, I'm hardly am expert, but I would say that it's kind of a perspective on the world, born of witnessing suffering in the world and knowing that death is the inevitable outcome for everyone. Jean Claude Izzo's Marseilles Trilogy would be my prime example of the genre.

It's not my own perspective, really, but I can understand it.

February 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, a lot of the country roots for New Orleans for a lot of reasons. This might be the most sentimentally popular Super Bowl victory ever. In addition to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints have been a bad team for most of their 43-year history, and America loves underdogs almost as much as it loves juggernauts. The only thing bad about them is that their owner is a bit of a jerk, though he seems to have toned his act down in recent years.

That's not a bad take on Izzo and noir. He'd be one of my examplars, along with Jean-Patrick Manchette, in his way the noirest of the noir, and Jim Thompson and, in our own day, Megan Abbott.

Hmm, grimness, death, inevitability of downfall. Sounds as much like a gloomy off-shoot of Calvinism as it does a genre of writing.

February 08, 2010  
Anonymous Adelaide said...

"On the subject of thrillers, I've just finished Deon Meyer's Heart of the Hunter. It covers the same territory as Peter Temple's In The Evil Day..."

The same territory? Can you elaborate on this statement, Solo?

February 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, I return to this post to ask what you eventually thought of Jones's "Requiem in Vienna." I just started his first crime novel, "The Empty Mirror." Not exactly riveting suspense but this guy knows Vienna (he's the author of one of my travel bibles, "Viennawalks") and I'm enjoying it on that level.

Reading through the comments to see if you had commented on RIV I thought of a film related to this thread on 2 or 3 levels; don't know why it didn't spring to mind at the time. "The Man Between," 1953, starring James Mason and Claire Bloom; directed by Carol Reed. I've stolen the following info that I agree with completely: "The city of Berlin is in itself a character in this film. When the film was shot, Berlin was ravaged by war. According to information on the TCM website, Carol Reed was not able to film in East Berlin. Reed created the illusion of East Berlin by using sections in West Berlin near the border that divided the war-torn city. Posters of Lenin and actors in East German uniforms gave the effect of East Berlin. Reed also worked some Berlin landmarks into the film, giving the movie an authentic look." Although not a noir film, I believe the film's ending would classify as noir.

February 23, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Elizabeth, thanks for the "The Man Between" rec. Now that I have my computer working functionally again, I'm restored to the land of Netflix.

February 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I haven't read it. I thought I'd write up this `books received' post, then read the novels on an occasional basis.

I think now I may want to read "The Empty Mirror" first because of a post that Jones made on another blog about Karl Kraus. "Requiem"'s opening, with its references to Mahler, Wagner, and Mahler's vulnerability to critics because of his Jewish birth reminds me of the third movement of Mahler First Symphony. That movement contains some fine klezmer-style playing, with whoops and slides, especially the clarinet.

I did not know Jones had written a travel book. I've been to Vienna once. I arrived depressed and was immediately warmed by the hospitality and by the sight of St. Stephen's covered by freshly fallen snow. I also didn't know about "The Man Between." I could start a Carol Reed/James Mason jones.

February 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, you'll see what I wrote about Carol Reed's flair for showing characters at loose ends in dark cities. Berlin ought to offer ample opportunity for more of this.

February 23, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"I arrived depressed and was immediately warmed by the hospitality" -- Vienna, city of Freud and Mahler, is definitely not a good place to be depressed, Peter! Fortunately there is a plentiful supply of Gemütlichkeit and Schlagobers to be had. A brief stroll from Stephansdom puts you in Adolf Loos' American Bar for the former and afterward to Demel for the latter.

Jones knows Vienna's fin de siècle cafe society very well. And he seems to have his timeline down, too, with details like "the plane trees planted along the new Ringstrasse had finally reached a height to provide shade for strollers on the broad sidewalk." This book promises to delineate Vienna as a character as important as any other to the story, not just a foreign setting for a murder mystery.

seana and Peter, I think you'll like "The Man Between." James Mason and Claire Bloom make a handsome couple (not that I'm recommending it as a tale of romance...)

February 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

One thing I remember about my stopover in Vienna -- it lasted just three days -- is that I had too little money to eat real meals in that expensive city, so I subsisted with food I bought in stalls in the street. One odd confection was grapes in something like rock candy. And no, I don't know the German name for this.

February 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Would you say Mahler was depressed? Writing music about death kept him going for years. If he didn't have that, he might really have got depressed.

February 24, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I don't like grapes in any form except their alcohol phase but I do know these treats are called "kandierten Weintrauben" (plain old "candied grapes").

Vienna is expensive, but one may play the boulevardier (-iere?) and nurse "eine Kaffee" for a long time at any of her famous cafes. You didn't have to wander around in the cold!

I'm not saying Mahler was depressed but rather that Vienna is conducive to depression. For example, I believe that if Sigmund Freud had lived and worked in, say fin de siècle Paris, instead of Vienna, there would have been no books like "The Interpretation of Dreams" and "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life."

Of course, these are the things I love about Vienna, not all that Mozart and Waltz King stuff.

OT... while looking to see what's happening literary-wise in Philly, I ran across a blurb at the Joseph Fox Bookshop site for a booksigning for a pretentious-sounding new book by one Robert Coover, "Noir: A Novel," Central Library, 1901 Vine Street (hey, we have one of those!) on April 1st; no foolin'. I imagine you may have heard of this title already...?

February 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Now, there's an idea for a historical/fantasy novel. What would our world have been like had Freud been a Parisian and the Impressionists Viennese?

I actually don't remember how I spend my brief stay in Vienna, probably because my arrival made such a strong impression. This happened on my first trip to Europe many years ago, so this is not necessarily a shocking failure of memory on my part.

I haven't heard of that Coover novel, though I do know of another called simply Noir. You may recall that I've heaped praise on the Central Library for its author events and written about several of them here.

If Mahler had been transported to Paris, would he have been-- well, I was tempted to say he'd have written can-cans instead of dirges and become an Offenbach. But Offenbach was German Jewish, so perhaps that little experiment has been carried out already. Hmm, if Offenbach had stayed home ...

February 24, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Mahler > Bohemian-Jewish in Vienna; Offenbach > German-Jewish in Paris. I would say that "proves" my theory about the power of the genius loci.

Your Central Library definitely has a greater variety of book-related event than our Central Library does.

February 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I shall amuse myself picturing Mahler kicking up his feet in a can-can and Offenbach musing upon death.

February 24, 2010  

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