The last crisis, I remember it perfectly, took place in Alexandria. We were staying in room 417 of the Cecil Hotel. Melanie Melbourne had insisted that I bring her to Alexandria, and that we stay at the Cecil, because she was completely wrapped up in reading Durrell's Quartet in those days. And she had developed the quirky habit--a poetic one that proved costly in the end--of reading works only in the places where they were set: Proust's Jeunes filles en fleur at the Grand Hotel of Cabourg, Larbaud's Journal intime de A. O. Barnabooth between the Florence Carlton and the Saint Peteresburg Evropeiskaia, Conrad in the Singapore Raffles, etc. Melanie Melbourne was the love of my life, but I think she was a bit loony.As someone who recently read part of Dickens's The Mystery of Edwin Drood while in Rochester, Kent, and part of Boswell's Life of Johnson while in Johnson's hometown of Lichfield, Staffordshire . . . well, I still can't disagree. It probably is a bit loony. But it's quite fun.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Species of Spaces
From Olivier Rolin's Hotel Crystal (2004, English translation 2008 by Jane Kuntz)