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In Anticipation

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

The Tartar Steppe

A wonderfully crafted tale of anticipation and disappointment, set in an isolated fort beside a desolate desert.
Short, crisp, captivating…

Once you finish it, what will remain is an ache. And a suspicion that your own life is unfolding in a similar pattern…

Here are some excerpts that I liked best…

(Chapter 6)
Up to then he had gone forward through the heedless season of early youth – along a road which to children seems infinite, where the years slip past slowly and with quiet pace so that no one notices them go. We walk along calmly, looking curiously around us; there is not the least need to hurry, no one pushes us on from behind and no one is waiting for us; our comrades, too, walk on thoughtlessly, and often stop to joke and play. From the houses, in the doorways, the grown up people greet us kindly and point to the horizon with an understanding smile. And so the heart begins to beat with desires at one heroic and tender, we feel that we are on the threshold of the wonders awaiting us further on. As yet we do not see them, that is true – but it is certain, absolutely certain that one day we shall reach them.
Is it far yet? No, you have to cross that river down there, go over those green hills. Haven’t we perhaps arrived already> Aren’t these trees, these meadows, this white house perhaps what we were looking for? For a few seconds we feel that they are and we would like to halt there. Then someone says that it is better further on and we move off again unhurriedly.
So the journey continues; we wait trustfully and the days are long and peaceful. The sun shines high in the sky and it seems to have no wish to set.
But at a certain point we turn around, almost instinctively, and see that a gate has been bolted behind us, barring our way back. Then we feel that something has changed; the sun no longer seems to be motionless but moves quickly across the sky; there is barely time to find it when it is already falling headlong towards the far horizon. We notice that the clouds no longer lie motionless in the blue gulfs of the sky but flee, piled one above the other, such is their haste. Then we understand that time is passing and that one day or another the road must come to an end.
At a certain point they shut the gate behind us, they lock it with lightning speed and it is too late to turn back. But at that moment Giovanni Drogo was sleeping, blissfully unconscious, and smiling in his sleep like a child.
Some days will pass before Drogo understands what has happened. Then it will be like and awakening. He will look around him incredulously; then he will hear a din of footsteps at his back, will see those who awoke before him running hard to pass him by, to get there first. He will feel the pulse of time greedily beat out the measure of life. There will be no more laughing faces at the windows but unmoved and indifferent ones. And if he asks how far there is still to go they will, it is true, still point to the horizon – but not good naturedly, not joyfully. Meanwhile his companions will disappear from view. One gets left behind, exhausted; another has outstripped the rest and is now no more than a tiny speck on the horizon.
Another ten miles – people will say – over that river and you will be there. Instead it never ends. The days grow shorter, the fellow-travelers fewer; at the windows apathetic figures stand and shake their heads.
At last Drogo will be alone and there on the horizon stretches a measureless sea, motionless, leaden. Now he will be tired; nearly all the houses along the way will have their windows shut and the few persons he sees will answer him with a sad gesture. The good things lay further back – far, far back and he has passed them by without knowing it. But it is too late to turn back; behind him swells the hum of the following multitude urged on by the same illusion but still invisible on the white road.
At this moment Giovanni Drogo is sleeping in the third redoubt. He is smiling in his dreams. For the last time there come to him by night sweet sights of a completely happy world. It is as well that he cannot see himself as he will one day be – there at the end of the road, standing on the shores of the leaden sea under a grey, monotonous sky. And around him there is not a house, not one human being, not a tree, not even a blade of grass. And so it has been since time immemorial.

(Chapter 17)
This is the time when an obstinate lament from life reawakens in the old beams. Many, many years ago in happier times there had been a surge of heat and youthful strength and clusters of buds sprang from the boughs. Then the tree had been cut down. And now it is spring and in each of its dismembered parts there still awakens a pulse of life, an infinitely weaker pulse. Once there were leaves and flowers; now only a dim memory, enough to make a cracking noise and then it is over until the next year.
(Chapter 24)
Little by little his hopes grew fainter. It is difficult to believe in a thing when one is alone and there is no one to speak to. It was at this period that Drogo realized how far apart men are whatever their affection for each other, that if you suffer the pain is yours and yours alone, no one else can take upon himself the least part of it; that if you suffer it does not mean that other feel pain even though their love is great: hence the loneliness of life.

You can get a bootleg copy of the ebook from here:

http://truly-free.org/ebook.php?book=Buzzati%2C%20Dino%20-%20The%20Tartar%20Steppe&list=b&nr=544&cat=f

The Tartar SteppeDino Buzzati

Categories: Bibliophilia

My favourite ebook sites

November 6, 2009 Leave a comment

I do not endorse ebook piracy. But all said and done, there are several sites where you could obtain free ebooks, sometimes even of recent releases. It did not surprise me to find an e-copy of Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” on the net, the day it was published.

Listed below are my favourite ebook sites:

 www.scribd.com
The ultimate free ebook website. All you need is to search for the author/ title and presto… you have it. Well, not  that easily.  But it is definitely a treasure house for ebooks.

www.4shared.com
Similar to scribd. Here is your chance to exercise your search skills. The results could surprise you.

www.truly-free.org
My personal favourite. A literature buff’s closely guarded site. I do not reveal it to many.  Here you would find literary gems that are not available anywhere else on the net. A jewel in the crown.

 The best ebook search engine I have come across: www.justfreebooks.info/

I also search www.esnips.com and www.ebookee.com for ebooks. These offer links to rapidlibrary or megaupload from where you can download the ebooks.

Insatiable bibliomaniacs, please check this link for an excellent listing of 20 best free ebook web sites.

Categories: Bibliophilia