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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 57 | volume X | November-December, 2007



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 57November-December, 2007
Reviews

Dialogues Sparkle with Wordplay, Wit

(Tom Petsinis, "The Twelfth Dialogue")


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p. 1
Sandy Forbes

    What if… a woman, let's call her Sonya Gore, dreamt of owning a second-hand bookshop?
    What if… like those of us who have always yearned for such a shop (we love the smell of books, their feel, their friendship, their ideas, their escapism, their challenges and demands), Sonya were to achieve her dream? And call the bookshop, of course, Bibliophile.
    How better to draw lovers of the word and the book, of reading and writing, into a novel which examines all those things?
    On the surface this is a simple tale: the bookshop, in an unnamed city, on the brink of the third millennium, falters and begins to fail. Sonya must decide how to rescue it – save her investment, her home – or walk away. Sonya's dream turns nightmarish, but (among her customers, or through the shopfront window?) she attracts an admirer.
    A prosaic suitor might woo with jewels. Sonya's poet, instead, presents his own handwritten prose – dialogues between the great writers of world literature, each a shining gem of imagination. How can she not be seduced by these works, of which she is the sole reader?
    “Written especially for her, the dialogues are a refuge amid so much uncertainty, providing a protective wall of words between her and a hostile world, a place to which she can retreat for half an hour, and which nobody, apart from the author, has ever visited.”
    Even more seductively, she herself appears as a recognisable character in each dialogue, through which her mysterious admirer examines endless facets of the human fascination with words, reading and writing.
    Moses and Karl Marx begin, with a very modern discussion about the challenge of describing God, about the Holocaust, and the opiate of religion.
    Next, ancient Greeks, debating the nature of comedy and tragedy. While other writers have lauded the cathartic nature of tragedy, the dialogue writer has his Greek theorise that comedy is both relaxant and laxative, making audiences feel brighter about facing their tomorrows.
    There is a gem featuring Plato and Homer, arguing about the role of poetry. Plato defends his ban of poetry, a source of madness and chaos, from his Republic – to a squiffy old blind Homer, whose insights the tearful censor wishes he could accommodate (for himself, you understand – he enjoys it – but poetry is dangerous for the other dwellers in his Utopia!).
    Another gem reflects Cervantes as the creator of the first literary character who is






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