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Sudden Death I m happy to have had the opportunity to read this in advance and interview the author Generally, it s a great, beguiling book like a mystery novel, its far flung parts come together over time via the life changing magic of an assertion of associative intelligence The author also states what s up at times, too Felt after a while like sitting mid court watching a ball zip back and forth across time and space A po mo literary entertainment with sharp hermeneutical knives up its sleeves A I m happy to have had the opportunity to read this in advance and interview the author Generally, it s a great, beguiling book like a mystery novel, its far flung parts come together over time via the life changing magic of an assertion of associative intelligence The author also states what s up at times, too Felt after a while like sitting mid court watching a ball zip back and forth across time and space A po mo literary entertainment with sharp hermeneutical knives up its sleeves An opportunity for good readers to have some fun if they re up for a game Translated by Natasha Wimmer, who most famously translated 2666 her skill is on display throughout in that the language conveys an individuated voice, approach, rhythm, texture it s no coincidence that when speaking of someone s death in mexico we say he hung up his tennis shoes, that he went out tennis shoes first we are who we are, unfixable, fucked we wear tennis shoes we fly from good to evil, from happiness to responsibility, from jealousy to sex souls batted back and forth across the court this is the serve the second of lvaro enrigue s works to be translated into english after his short story collection, hypothermia , sudden death muerte s bitait s no coincidence that when speaking of someone s death in mexico we say he hung up his tennis shoes, that he went out tennis shoes first we are who we are, unfixable, fucked we wear tennis shoes we fly from good to evil, from happiness to responsibility, from jealousy to sex souls batted back and forth across the court this is the serve the second of lvaro enrigue s works to be translated into english after his short story collection, hypothermia , sudden death muerte s bitais a remarkable, matchless novel of historical fiction if one were given to approximating the closest genre in which to situate it winner of the prestigious herralde prize in 2013 placing him squarely among the good company of mar as, bola o, vila matas, giralt torrente, pitol, pauls, sada, villoro, nettel, et al , sudden death is not a book about the origins of tennis, nor the counter reformation, nor italian painter caravaggio or spanish poet quevedo, nor the prolonged, inebriated tennis match they play with a ball crafted from the hair of the recently beheaded anne boleyn enrique, mexican author and bogot 39 honoree celebrating young latin american writers of great promise see also zambra, neuman, alarc n, halfon, nettel, volpi, v squez, d az, roncagliolo, et al , has been enjoying the sort of buzz that translated authors seldom garner save for likes of bola o, knausg rd, ferrante, and perhaps krasznahorkai sudden death makes clear that the hype is indeed well warranted.with the aforementioned tennis match between caravaggio and quevedo as its centerpiece, sudden death expounds upon history, conquest, art, religion, and tennis with violence and sex aplenty, a vignette style prose, and complementary humor, sudden death, while defining easy classification, stands alone as a work of great imagination, impressive execution, and unique combination of fact and fiction, history and histrionics a lively, ribald cast of characters and cameos hern n cort s and galileo galilei, most notably invigorate a novel that is already brimming with novelty and nuance sudden death, like so much of the best literature from spanish speaking countries, melds tradition with originality enrigue aka mr valeria luiselli looks backward as perhaps bola o did forward in 2666 to posit bloodshed, greed, and subjugation as the thread that is forever woven into our past, present, and presumable future with a deft touch, sudden death doesn t bow under the weight of history, as enrigue is far too skilled to succumb to the trappings of centuries long elapsed that he has wrought humor, perspective, and literary ingenuity from the past is itself an impressive feat sudden death, surely an early contender for one of 2016 s finest works of fiction, marks enrigue as yet another latin american author for whom inventiveness, fertility, and singularity seem ever so effortless as i write, i don t know what this book is about it s not exactly about a tennis match nor is it a book about the slow and mysterious integration of america into what we call the western world an outrageous misapprehension, since from the american perspective, europe is the east maybe it s just a book about how to write this book maybe that s what all books are about a book with a lot of back and forth, like a game of tennis.it isn t a book about caravaggio or quevedo, though caravaggio and quevedo are in the book, as are cort s and cuauht moc, and galileo and pius iv gigantic individuals facing off all fucking, getting drunk, gambling in the void novels demolish monuments because all novels, even the most chaste, are a tiny bit pornographic.nor is it a book about the birth of tennis as a popular sport, though it definitely has its roots in extensive research i conducted on the subject with a grant at the new york public library i embarked on the research after mulling over the discovery of a fascinating bit of information the first truly modern painter in history was also a great tennis player and a murderer our brother.nor is it a book about the counter reformation, but it takes place in a time that now goes by that name, which is why it s a book that features twisted and bloodthirsty priests, sex addict priests who fucked children for sport, thieving priests who obscenely swelled their coffers with the tithing and alms of poor all over the world priests who were swine.i don t know what this book is about i know that as i wrote it i was angry because the bad guys always win maybe all books are written simply because in every game the bad guys have the advantage and that is beyond bearing translated from the spanish by natasha wimmer bola o, giralt torrente, vargas llosa, restrepo, fres n i have yet, being no scholar of history, to make sense of the three characters that bear eerily similar names lvaro de campos, alberto caro, and ricardo de los reyes to fernando pessoa s most frequently employed heteronyms perhaps enrigue is merely offering a nod to one of portgual s most enigmatic and poetical sons 4.5 With its scenes of Caravaggio and Spanish poet Quevedo playing a hungover tennis match using a ball stuffed with Anne Boleyn s hair in lieu of a duel over some slight no one can remember, Counter Reformation popes scheming and receiving gifts of exquisite iridescent New World featherwork, and Cort s and Malinalli La Malinche in bed, and an attempt to create Utopia whichor less worked, resorting to synopsis is the most obviously attention grabbing ways to open a review of this boo 4.5 With its scenes of Caravaggio and Spanish poet Quevedo playing a hungover tennis match using a ball stuffed with Anne Boleyn s hair in lieu of a duel over some slight no one can remember, Counter Reformation popes scheming and receiving gifts of exquisite iridescent New World featherwork, and Cort s and Malinalli La Malinche in bed, and an attempt to create Utopia whichor less worked, resorting to synopsis is the most obviously attention grabbing ways to open a review of this book Sudden Death is one of those po mo anti novels of bits and pieces tangentially related historical fictions are interspersed with excerpts from centuries old treatises, a few of the author s autobiographical musings and how I wrote this book ness, and games like a series of emails with his editor, which he is not given permission to publish but they re here and they couldn t have got here without it Some such books including one I ve been reading recently, The Physics of Sorrow, jump and meander along arbitrary streams of consciousness, but Enrigue has created a highly organised example I can t really do better than Lee s metaphors for the structure and reading of Sudden Death, but the discrete nature of most of the chapters excepting the very last few where paragraphs from different stories begin to blend resembles reading a series of articles open in different browser tabs, dealing with a few different topics of interest, skipping from one subject to another to avert boredom Relationships and motifs begin to build up between the articles although they were not originally created to be read together Except these were A working knowledge of sixteenth century history Western Europe, Central America will make this a less challenging read than it may be without most main characters would be familiar, albeit not everything they do Some of it s just made up other events are the kind of salaciousness and specialist detail not found in yr avg general survey textbook and might be juicy finds even for some seasoned historians In one of his commentary chapters, Enrigue states,all novels, even the most chaste, are a tiny bit pornographic This is not the most chaste of novels One feels a little embarrassed on behalf of Galileo in particular were those extravagantly bawdy sexual opinions, amusing though they are to some readers, and implying experience of congress with livestock, anything to do with his real self Though in best early modern fashion, Enrigue couches those smutty lines within a beautifully poignant scene, one that hints at the fluidity of romantic friendships between some intellectual men of the era The book helped resolve questions remaining after a small historical debate with a friend some time ago Was the conquest of the Aztecs qualitatively different from most other acts of colonialism, given their extremes of human sacrifice and torture To what extent was it comparable to overthrowing the Nazis I wondered what Latin American peoples non historians thought were certain European methods of killing at that same time in historyhorrifying becausealien And what might it feel like to be descended from Aztecs Do they have any role in assertions of indigenous identity One contemporary Mexican author in his forties obviously doesn t speak for everyone, but he clarified a certain amount For once, history was just a particularly bloody realm reduced to a single barge Though that didn t mean the good guys had won The good guys never win Outside of the Holy Roman Empire s triangle of influence, the conquistadors must have been perceived by the majorities that surrounded them as a tribe with an inevitably superior technology of death, but also with less of a thirst for blood than the previous occupants of Mexico s imperial capital Not that the recent arrivals were humanists on a mission to improve anyone s life, but at least they didn t make sacrifices to frenzied and glamorous gods lovers of spectacle and gore like none before or since Their sacrifices were to a bland and pragmatic god called money, statisticallylethal than the four divine Tezcatlipocas put together, but also slower in its means of causing harmIf in 1521 the nose of Hern n Cort s s horse marked the furthest reach of the Holy Roman Empire, by 1538 the Aztecs were already as lost and mythical a people as the Atlanteans or the Garamantes, and their genetic material lay at the bottom of Lake Texcoco, or had been circulated for the last time through the lungs of those who breathed in the smoke of the huge piles of bodies burned after the fall of Tenochtitlan We Mexicans aren t descendants of the Mexicas, but of the nations that joined with Cort s to overthrow them We re a country whose name is the product of nostalgia and guilt.Although evidently a handful of Aztecs survived late in the book appears Huanitzin and his son a nobleman skilled in the art of featherworking, who made, among other treasures, a mitre gifted to the pope that is also handled by Caravaggio elsewhere, and decades later, in the book.Most curiously, the Aztec language had a character almost opposite to its speakers terrifying reputationMexican Spanish, at times so disconcerting and easy to misinterpret, gets its warmth and courtesy from Nahuatl the gentlest and most gracious of tongues an airy, bird like form of speech When someone from Madrid or Montevideo walks into a room, he says, Permiso, and that s it In contrast, a Mexican erects a syntactic edifice so complicated that it requires both a negative clause and a verb in the conditional If it s no trouble, might I come in It s not that they re sappier orsentimental than other Spanish speakers it s just that Mexican Spanish is crisscrossed with the scars of Nahuatl In our mental hard drives, the file of the mother tongue still opens at certain prompts, even though it s been two or three hundred years since we spoke it.Huanitzin s attempts to speak Spanish result in much punning confusion Translator Natasha Wimmer, also responsible for putting Bola o into English, must have worked some kind of transposing rewriting magic here It would be fascinating to know what the original wordplays were, as they don t translate directly, at least according to my school Spanish Cort s asked Huanitzin what else he needed in order to pay tribute to the emperor Shoes, he replied What kind, asked the conquistador, imagining that he must be cold and want woollen slippers Like yours, said Huanitzin who, being an Aztec noble and a featherworker, considered a provincial squire turned soldier to be of a class beneath his With cockles Cockles asked Cort s The Indian pointed to the captain s instep, festooned with a golden buckle and inlaid with mother of pearl Buckles, said the conquistador shoes with buckles What an elegant double reference to shells The featherworker shrugged his shoulders If you need anything, let me know What could I possibly need I don t know a handsome peasant to take to the pope A peasant To flail him, as a sign of our devotion No one touches His Holiness Of course, that s why he s pope, but I m sure his bishops flail him Hail him That s right, flail him Not a handsome peasant, the padre continued to provoke him Why He s a man of God, Huanitzin he must be eighty years old It s a matter of coming up with the right peasant, Huanitzin concluded, wrinkling his brow and fingering the scanty beard he might better have shaved How can you think of a peasant for the pope A nice one, answered the Indian Then, unperturbed, he bid the bishop goodbye Even funnier in context, given various antics of clergymen and noblemen with young men that precede this in the novel I very much like this intriguing UK cover I go for geometric designs anyway, and this is essentially one made from 3D objects wonder if the designer made them in reality, not only on a screen they look very solid they are the wadding cotton insides of old style tennis balls, bound in regular patterns with thread, before receiving their final outer leather covering For, as described in the book, it was only in some places in the sixteenth century, not everywhere, the sinister and decadent fashion to make tennis balls from the hair of the executed I can t quite fathom why this didn t feel like a 5 star book whilst reading it sure as hell sounds like one whilst writing it up That elusive whatever it is just wasn t there enough of the time, or maybe I was simply tired With the right combination of subcultural and academic interests, you might fall in love with it on the first page, for bringing such things together in a single sentenceIn 1451, Edmund Lacey, Bishop of Exeter, defined the game with the same suppressed rage with which my mother referred to the falling apart Converse I wore as a kid ad ludum pile vulgariter nuncupatum Tenys There are a few bits of untranslated Latin and Italian, most near the beginning Enrigue often says what the book isn t, but afterwards it comes together as a novel of living history I recommend writing about itthan most books I ve read, reviewing made sense of it in my head, and isn t only a way of trying to describe it to others The tennis match doesn t seem directly relevant to structures of the modern world, unlike the political history, or the explanations of which public buildings now stand where Aztec edifices once did, but its physicality the descriptions of play really fire off the mirror neurons I could feel the actions just as I would if watching tennis on TV and its witty playfulness meshes with the rest to allude to a literary mood of the times of its setting Rabelaisian, Shakespearean Yet the presence of tennis arguably references that recent po mo literary institution Infinite Jest someone should write a review comparing the two as tennis novels , whilst on a completely different scale, the ultra short chapters in Sudden Death are moulded to the twenty first century idea of the internet pruned attention span or commuter read modern buildings for which the old invisibly provides foundations Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher Harvill Secker Penguin Random House UK , from whom I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review Further quotes in the status updates Amazing writing Amazing And great translation by Natasha Wimmer.This is powerful writing about art, religion, opposites, transitions, the Spanish conquest of Mexico, love, politics, and conflict In only 260 pages Enrigue creates a multi dimensional web of time and place He peoples it with many famous people and works of art and literature He hangs these on a framework of a tennis match between Caravaggio and Quevedo, artist and poet In between each game s points we are whisked away to inha Amazing writing Amazing And great translation by Natasha Wimmer.This is powerful writing about art, religion, opposites, transitions, the Spanish conquest of Mexico, love, politics, and conflict In only 260 pages Enrigue creates a multi dimensional web of time and place He peoples it with many famous people and works of art and literature He hangs these on a framework of a tennis match between Caravaggio and Quevedo, artist and poet In between each game s points we are whisked away to inhabit the world of Hernan Cortez as he morphs from clumsy peasant to victory machine at least as long as Maliche was at his side , or the intrigues of the cardinals and wealthy Italian bankers who preside over the transition to the Counter Reformation, or Enrigue s own author s reflections and research We watch the Aztecs try to make sense of this new people, and witness their utter destruction We experience the emergence of modern painting as Caravaggion feels his way toward mastery amidst a death defying debauchery.I don t want to spoil this by telling too much just find a copy and read it now It is funny, it is tour de force writing that culminates in a mushroom fueled mash of the various storylines, it is poignant, it is now on my favorites shelf As I wrote in an update, I saw Enrigue at an author event last week and was totally delighted If you have a chance to hear him, go About 30 pages into this book, I wasn t entirely sure what was happening, but I decided to accept that feeling and buckle up for the ride And what a ride it was Sudden Death describes a fictional tennis match between the Italian painter, Caravaggio, and the Spanish poet, Francisco Quevedo Interspersed between the games are snippets from historical texts, emails with his editor, and storylines featuring other prominent historical figures, such as Hern n Cort s and Vasco de Quiroga Like the te About 30 pages into this book, I wasn t entirely sure what was happening, but I decided to accept that feeling and buckle up for the ride And what a ride it was Sudden Death describes a fictional tennis match between the Italian painter, Caravaggio, and the Spanish poet, Francisco Quevedo Interspersed between the games are snippets from historical texts, emails with his editor, and storylines featuring other prominent historical figures, such as Hern n Cort s and Vasco de Quiroga Like the tennis ball in the match, the reader bounces around wildly from story to story and the result is disorienting and mind bending in a good way First of all, this was a lot of fun and I certainly haven t read anything like it before Enrigue loves to play with reality, so that it s difficult to distinguish between fact, speculation, and pure imagination The novel is full of violence beheadings, religious movements, and war Enrigue breaks up these brutal tales with bits of humor so that one minute you re wincing at a death and the next you re chuckling at the ridiculousness of some of the characters sometimes the wincing and the chuckling is happening at the same time Enrigue explores so many themes in Sudden Death, from language, translation, and the power of words, to art and the responsibility of the artist The chapters are generally short and move quickly, but I found myself constantly pausing to look up a historical figure, or a movement, or one of Caravaggio s paintings My history knowledge is rather rusty at the moment, so it would be interesting to reread this at a later point with a better understanding of the historical context.I was able to attend an event with the author and he said that the novel is a proposal It s up to the reader to bring their own interpretations to the table The author was able to say so much in such a short novel My review is just scratching the surface I wantpeople to read this so that we can discuss If you want to hear me talkabout this novel, I discussed it in my February wrap up I m not exactly sure what I just read but that s okay because the author doesn t know either As I write, I don t know what this book is about.Hah I told you Although, in the first instance anyhow, it s about a tennis match It s not exactly about a tennis match.Hey, stop that Maybe it s just a book about how to write this book maybe that s what all books are about A book with a lot of back and forth, like a game of tennis.Be that as it may, there is a tennis match that takes the whole book t I m not exactly sure what I just read but that s okay because the author doesn t know either As I write, I don t know what this book is about.Hah I told you Although, in the first instance anyhow, it s about a tennis match It s not exactly about a tennis match.Hey, stop that Maybe it s just a book about how to write this book maybe that s what all books are about A book with a lot of back and forth, like a game of tennis.Be that as it may, there is a tennis match that takes the whole book to complete And while an imagined event, it certainly seemed real enough The only real things in a novel are the sequences of letters, words and sentences that make it up, and the paper on which they are printed What they produce in a reader s head are private and unique landscapes of objects in motion that have only one thing in common they don t exist.But the Italian painter Caravaggio and the Spanish poet Quevedo are the ones playing the tennis match, which, yes, may be imagined but the players are real It isn t a book about Caravaggio or Quevedo, though Caravaggio and Quevedo are in the book, as are Cort s and Cuauht moc, and Galileo and Pius IV Gigantic individuals facing off All fucking, getting drunk, gambling in the void Novels demolish monuments because all novels, even the most chaste, are a tiny bit pornographic.Like that chapter about the clitoris that changed the world The sole duty of a writer is to minister to his readers to liberate them from inexactitude out of respect for the mysterious and touching pact of loyalty they make with books When something is clear to a writer, I think it s fair to ask him not to obscure it, but when something is unclear I think it should be left that way The honest thing is to relay my doubts, and let the conversation move one step forward readers may know better Which is to say the nothing of the ball Tennis, is turns out, is an old sport It s all there I know because I googled Thomas Moore wrote about it Shakespeare too Students of Caravaggio included rackets in paintings But the ball oh, the ball It seems they were filled in part by hair, sometimes human hair The author fills this ball with hair from Anne Boleyn, shorn before she, uh, lost her head Consider this your invitation to a beheading That s how the erstwhile queen gets in the story Andy Warhol appears, but in a cameo role Michelangelo Merisi, we know, took the name Caravaggio after the city in which he was born The author jokes It s as if Andy Warhol had signed his serigraphs Pittsburgh Hern n Cort s has aprominent appearance If in 1521 the nose of Hern n Cort s s horse marked the farthest reach of the Holy Roman Empire, by 1538 the Aztecs were already as lost and mythical a people as the Atlanteans or the Garamantes, and their genetic material lay at the bottom of Lake Toxcoco, or has been circulated for the last time through the lungs of those who breathed in the smoke of the huge piles of bodies burned after the fall of Tenochtitlan We Mexicans aren t descendants of the Mexicas, but of the nations that joined Cort s to overthrow them We re a country whose name was the product of nostalgia and guilt There was, in other words, no demagogue to keep us out Sorry to keep bouncing back and forth like this but I have to share this sentence If Saint Sebastian in all his arrow pierced ecstasy hadn t become the patron saint of gay culture, it s likely that Hyacinth would today be the emblematic mythological figure of male homosexuality There s a lot of things in that sentence that I didn t know, so much so that I went googling again, especially because the author points us to the painting The Death of Hyacinth by one of Caravaggio s students In the original myth, Apollo, friend and lover of Hyacinth, was training him in the stadium arts when he tossed him a discus with divine strength kind of like Superman and inadvertently killed him Apollo wept so much at what he had done that he transformed Hyacinth into the flower that bears his name.I have no opinion on the apparently heated debate about who should be the patron saint of gay culture But I will point you, as the author did me, to the accoutrements Note that Apollo is holding a tennis racket And look what s underneath Hyacinth That s no discus Cort s s serve again Back in Mexico There are few better illustrations of how a whole host of people can manage to understand absolutely nothing, act in an impulsive and idiotic way, and still drastically change a course of history Which brings me to the featherwork miters made by Mexican artists and worn by Roman popes Game Set Match Quite erudite, and some lovely tidbits about various things that do interest me quite a lot tales of New World first encounters, Caravaggio, Anne Boleyn But don t believe people who say it s not about tennis There s a lot of tennis And I like tennis But I don t, really don t, ever want to read a play by play account of a tennis match, even if it s the most amazingly hungover burlesque historically fanciful tennis match ever I also found the bookthan a little annoying when it parades Quite erudite, and some lovely tidbits about various things that do interest me quite a lot tales of New World first encounters, Caravaggio, Anne Boleyn But don t believe people who say it s not about tennis There s a lot of tennis And I like tennis But I don t, really don t, ever want to read a play by play account of a tennis match, even if it s the most amazingly hungover burlesque historically fanciful tennis match ever I also found the bookthan a little annoying when it parades the genealogy of various counterreformation cardinals There is too much to keep track of for such a short book And if you already know a lot about the counter reformation Catholic Church I don t , you may enjoy this muchthan I did but if you don t, you ll not find out from Enrigue why you should care, and will find it all a bit inside tennis But still quite quite clever, and certainly a fine portrait of Caravaggio Sudden Death begins with a brutal tennis match, with the bawdy Italian artist Caravaggio and the loutish Spanish poet Quevedo battling it out in Rome before a crowd that includes Galileo, Mary Magdalene, and a generation of popes who would throw Europe into flames In England, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII execute Anne Boleyn, and her wily executioner transforms her legendary locks into the most sought after tennis balls of the time Across the ocean in Mexico, the last Aztec emperors play their own games, as conquistador Hern n Cort s and his Mayan translator and lover, La Malinche, scheme and conquer, fight and fuck, not knowing that their domestic comedy will change the course of history And in a remote Mexican colony a bishop reads Thomas More s Utopia and thinks that instead of a parody, it s a manualWorlds collide, time coils, traditions break down There are assassinations and executions, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bawdy criminals, carnal liaisons and papal dramas, artistic and religious revolutions, love and war A blazingly original voice and a postmodern visionary, lvaro Enrigue tells the grand adventure of the dawn of the modern era, breaking down traditions and upending expectations, in this bold, powerful punch of a novel Game, set, match The novel begins by telling you nothing in it is truethe only real things in a novel are the sequences of letters, words, and sentences that make it up, and the paper on which they re printed.But what follows is told in a tone that mimics the tone of a popular history book Never mind that the historic characters who appear in this novel are set into scenes of great ridiculousness history itself is ridiculous series of unlikely events, isn t it so as I read sentence after sentence of impla The novel begins by telling you nothing in it is truethe only real things in a novel are the sequences of letters, words, and sentences that make it up, and the paper on which they re printed.But what follows is told in a tone that mimics the tone of a popular history book Never mind that the historic characters who appear in this novel are set into scenes of great ridiculousness history itself is ridiculous series of unlikely events, isn t it so as I read sentence after sentence of implausible if historic sounding details, each so surprising and specific and playful and delightful , I kept thinking, wait, did that really happen or could it have been that way until I just needed to give myself up to the story entirely and to be carried off into its world And through it all, somehow this feeling kept surprising me, that I could be having so much fun while reading a book that is so erudite and so well written No matter how playful the novel is, there is this skittering tension in it between fact and fiction, between what is known about the past, and what can never be known about the past It s both a deep fun book, and a fun deep book Wonderful lvaro Enrigue told me many new things about tennis although I m not sure I needed to know them.I ve got an impression that he had very little to say so he turned Sudden Death into a collection of trivial facts, irrelevant fillers, cock and bull allegations and superficial lies Without removing his gaze from their enticing skirts, the duke ran through the images he retained of the previous night These two hadn t been at the brothel or the tavern It took him a while to pinpoint where he d seen lvaro Enrigue told me many new things about tennis although I m not sure I needed to know them.I ve got an impression that he had very little to say so he turned Sudden Death into a collection of trivial facts, irrelevant fillers, cock and bull allegations and superficial lies Without removing his gaze from their enticing skirts, the duke ran through the images he retained of the previous night These two hadn t been at the brothel or the tavern It took him a while to pinpoint where he d seen them in a painting that he d had the leisure to examine as he and the poet waited endlessly for an audience with a banker The whores appeared in it as models for Martha and her cousin Mary Magdalene.The matter was resolved when he recognized a seductive flaw a big mark like a continent on Martha s chin which the painter had copied just as it was They had even discussed it Who would put a saint infected with some contagion in a painting The poet had pointed out that Mary Magdalene, played by a strikingly lovely and spirited model, was holding the mirror of vanity in a hand with a crooked finger The world turned upside down, he said All this amounts to zilch and it adds nothing to literature.When an author has nothing to say he starts talking statistics and politics and nonsense.The film Caravaggio by Derek Jarman is worth at least three of such fluffy and hollow books like this one


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