The reason we create and consume literature is to feel suddenly seized by story. It’s never a given. But during the evening’s reading and discussion on 24th of October 2014 (with Marica Bodrožić and Andrey Kurkow, moderated by Rosie Goldsmith), I felt wonderfully seized, by both authors.
Bodrožić spoke about writing her last book, My White Peace, about how an outer journey urged an inner journey, and how the space between countries can serve as a threshold, where one can lucidly observe, and witness, and write. She spoke urgently, unequivocally. Kurkow half-shouted wonderful stories, his eyes bright and laughing. Shrewd, subtle, hilarious: he related eerily predicting the future in fiction and getting it all wrong in fact, the Russians’ 3 love of Stalin and Ivan the Terrible versus the Ukrainian disgust for leaders the second they enter office. Goldsmith moderated fluidly and spryly, gently drawing the authors out. The event concluded with a line from Bodrožić that hit my body as a prickling truth: “Es ist viel leichter für etwas zu sterben als für etwas zu leben.” It is much easier to die for something than to live for it.