Janette Ayachi: Hand Over Mouth Music

Ayachi: Hand Over Mouth Music (cover)Janette Ayachi
Hand Over Mouth Music
Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Over Mouth Music is an intriguing name for a collection. The title poem suggests that it signifies silence – the music that is inhibited because a hand is over one’s mouth; a silence, or at least a song without words. But it also nods to puirt à beul for this too is music without words, sung sounds, and associated with women’s work, and therefore perhaps a metaphor for domestic labour performed without fuss, if not entirely willingly, and thus signifying dissent too. ‘This is their blues, a work song without words,’ she writes, dwelling on the activities of the women at her father’s second wedding.

Music runs through other poems too, but in other keys or registers. In ‘Dean Street Gardens’, ‘a man practices chanter-song as he walks his dog / tapping the sheet music with his wedding ring’. And ‘Aria’, which forms part of a sequence about pregnancy and childbirth, begins: ‘Since my surrender to the cadenza / of the spearmint midwives’. The motif continues in the next (‘Lyra’) with its opening lines, ‘The first night you curled in our bed / like a loose semiquaver’.

The collection shuttles between Algeria and Scotland. The former in a cluster of poems that seem to have been inspired by visits to the author’s father’s family – visits where the ‘flight back home’ is never far away (‘Youma and the Three Kings’). On either side are poems set explicitly in Glasgow and Edinburgh. I especially liked ‘Falling Asleep On Your Last Memory’ which provocatively takes the side of the usually demonised gulls and pigeons in Princes Street Gardens, finally addressing them directly: ‘Let your wings graze the cheeks of tourists with an undertaker’s caress’. If the prose fragment on ‘Merchant City’ is an indication of what we can expect from Ayachi’s forthcoming nonfiction memoir about travelling alone, then we are in for a treat.

There are some intriguing premises for poems here – ‘On Keeping a Wolf’, for one, and ‘Closed Doors’, about a furtive snog in a lift – ‘until / doors open like a dropped book / spilling its forbidden pages.’ More daring is ‘Lawrencium’, addressed to the chemical element; another explores the idea that days are like different birds, some of them with broken wings; and there are interesting renditions of geography (‘Adriatic Sea’, as if viewed in an atlas rather than in the flesh) and ‘Father’s Biography’ (the – overlapping – phases of his life counted mechanically in numbers of years).

The reader feels compelled to pause frequently over striking phrases, their meaning almost giving way to pure sound: ‘double cello echo’ (‘St Kilda’), ‘hovering with offerings’ (‘Youma and the Three Kings’). Who could fail to be captivated by the Mallarméan magic that produced ‘a scriptorium of futuristic mannequins’, followed a few lines later by ‘a planetarium of medusae’? But sometimes these are not enough to lift those poems whose organising principle is obscure – poems that neither tell a story, nor capture a moment, nor pursue a line of thought and instead seem only to offer a stream of consciousness of merely private significance. The opening poem, ‘I Laughed So Much I Lost My Voice’, is a case in point, which is unfortunate, as one expects the first in a collection to be the strongest.

But stay with it. There is plenty to delight you here, even if the finest poem in my opinion is the last one, ‘Sea-Rattle’. Here the sea approaches the tenement where the poet is and engulfs it, nature taking its revenge perhaps, recalling the Edinburgh gulls. Every word chosen and weighted carefully – and it is printed double-spaced as if to force you to read it more slowly. Although broken into sentences, the lines rise in intensity as if in a single wave until ‘lungs inflate and learn to speak. I hold my breath, / listen to their oscillations and swim towards the sky.’

Jemma Neville: Constitution Street

Neville: Constitution Street (cover)Jemma Neville
Constitution Street: Finding Hope in an Age of Anxiety
[Edinburgh]: 404 Ink, 2019

 

 

 

 

There are some other good ‘street’ books that engage with the residents by someone who knows the area well.  Flatbush Odyssey and Isolarion come to mind, emerging from peregrinations in Brooklyn and Oxford respectively.1 But this is different. It is not structured as a single journey but organised thematically.  Taking her cue from the name of the street in Leith, the author, who has a legal background, devotes each chapter to a human right (the right to life, to housing, to freedom of religious belief, and so on) illuminated through conversations with her neighbours, some of whom are close friends.

Among those she talks to are a casino manager, a puppet maker, a window cleaner, a pub landlady, a police officer, a doula, a founder member of Idlewild, a Buddhist nun who was once a girlfriend of George Best, a male blogger called Silver Fox in a Frock, and a postman who reveals how much he and his colleagues read the messages on postcards. Neville talks to them about their everyday experiences living on Constitution Street rather than probing them for back stories, perhaps keen not to invade their privacy. And the cumulative effect is a glorious hymn to what Paul Gilroy has called conviviality.2 But it’s also a celebration of the joys of handwritten communications.

Constitution Street is not all about the present. History peeps through in the shape of the Darien adventure, the compensation paid to Leith slave-holders after Emancipation in the West Indies, the 1560 Siege of Leith, the Leithers killed in the rail crash of 1915, and the lightning plebiscite of 1920 that led to the town’s merger with Edinburgh despite the large vote against it. But the best stories are of the more recent past: a public clock unwittingly unplugged by a cleaner, how an alligator came to be sold from the boot of a car, the discovery of an ancient burial ground during tramline excavations.

Neville is as at ease describing the breathtaking evening view from a 16th floor flat as she is capturing the cast of characters at the Port O’ Leith bar. I liked the Perecquian inventory that precedes the main body of the text, listing things seen on a walk. The writing is often lifted with poetic touches. She recalls an umbrella abandoned in a puddle in Barcelona, ‘its spokes bent upward like jabbing fingers demanding of the sky Votarem!’ (p237). She transcribes an interview, ‘carefully picking the exact letters from my keyboard like the harvesting of these delicate, precise leaves from a twig of thyme scenting the air’ (p100). Leith docks are compared to ‘an abandoned fairground’ (p163). She has a fine ear for the contrast between daytime and nocturnal sounds and Constitution Street ends with a lovely pitch-perfect early-morning epilogue.

Her cultural frames of reference include (somewhat predictably) Trainspotting and The Proclaimers, but W H Auden, Edward Hopper, Leonard Bernstein, Nan Shepherd, Robert Burns, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce also make an appearance. But if she occasionally nods to other places round the world – Catalonia, Iceland, Rojava – we never lose sight of Leith for long. A hand-drawn, illustrated map (by Morven Jones) helps to orient the reader. And the chapters are broken up by black and white photographs (by Rob Smith, who deserves a more prominent credit), picking out intriguing details of the built environment, often small decorative features that go unnoticed by passers-by – tiling, brickwork sculpted marble – complementing the text perfectly.

The thematic structure (emphasised by the chapter titles, ‘The Right to Life’, ‘The Right to Education’, and so on) runs the risk of feeling imposed on the material. But apart from the overlong introductory sections and the sometimes flat endings to the chapters, it works well and reads naturally. Neither sentimental nor cynical, Constitution Street salutes its readers with honesty and warmth.

  1. Allen Abel, Flatbush Odyssey: A Journey Through the Heart of Brooklyn (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1995); James Atlee, Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).
  2. Paul Gilroy, After Empire: Melancholia or Convivial Culture? (London: Routledge 2004).

 

Jamaica Kincaid: Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya

Jamaica Kincaid
Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya
Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2005

 

 

For those who know Jamaica Kincaid from the opening salvo of A Small Place – a withering put-down of the tourists who descend on her island, blithely oblivious of what it is like to live there – this may come as a big surprise.

Among Flowers is an account of a trek she made in Nepal, for the purpose of collecting seeds she could plant in her garden in Vermont. She and her three companions are guided by sherpas and supported by a team of porters (whose names she can never remember) who do their best to meet their demand for creature comforts and keep them safe from the attentions of ‘Maoists’ (caricatured as menacing or infantile throughout) who threaten to spoil their vacation.

It is not easy to believe that they were written by the same person. Perhaps she has gotten more conservative as she has gotten older. It’s not unheard of. Or perhaps we would find it more reassuring to believe that if the first was sincere, the second must be ironic.

I’m not convinced.

In one village she refers to the way she becomes the object of curious attention. ‘One woman did make me understand that she thought I was wearing a mask, that my face was not my real face,’ she writes. Maybe this is Kincaid reminding her readers that authors always ‘wear a mask’, whether it be that of the outraged local or the self-absorbed tourist. In each case, it is as if she is adopting a deliberately exaggerated persona and pushing it as far as it can go.

The first-person protagonist of this story is not unaware of the disparities of power and wealth that separate elite travellers from the people they meet (and rely on). Indeed, her disarming tendency to admit how much she moaned about the facilities or felt let down by the porters brings them into sharper relief than an account by a more ‘sensitive’ traveller who might have made more effort to appear to ‘fit in’.

But even when she consciously reflects on these disparities – for example when she contrasts her own perspective with that of the Nepalese (what for her is treasure may be weeds to them, what is ornament, food, and what is exciting and new, dull and quotidian) – it is the way that these reflections unconsciously rob them of the possibility of finer feeling that is telling rather than the prosaic truth they express.

Above all, that these reflections never prompt searching questions of a moral or political nature – while a Communist rebellion gathers pace around her – may be more eloquent in its silence than an approach that offers simple solutions.

For this reason, I think the ‘tourist’ identity Kincaid assumes in the Himalayas exposes contradictions and paradoxes much more effectively than the ‘local’ identity she assumes in Antigua. Whether this is a deliberate strategy is another question, and possibly an irrelevant one.

Jamaica Kincaid: My Garden (Book):

A quotation from Kirkus Review on the back cover of my copy calls this book ‘quirky’. This is true, on different levels.

Perhaps the most distinctive formal feature is the deliberately excessive use of parentheses, as if the author has set herself the task of illustrating all the different purposes they can serve (clarifying an ambiguous pronoun, glossing an unusual word or phrase, explanation, qualification, specification of relationship, narrative digression, and so on), extending to the very title. It lends these essays an informal, conversational character – often marked by sudden changes of direction or swings of mood.

But the subject matter is highly unusual too. All the essays draw on Kincaid’s experiences as an amateur gardener but it is no more a book about gardening than Beyond a Boundary is about cricket. ‘What do they know of gardening who only gardening know?’ could easily be its epigraph. If it is eloquent on the ways in which the gardener can take delight in the ‘vexations and agitations’ of her craft, and on the impulses that attract her to some plants and repel her from others, My Garden (book) offers various historical and cross-cultural perspectives that make for uncomfortable and provocative reading.

She dwells – some might say perversely – on the quotidian details of buying and selling, underlining the broader economic networks in which she operates (including her own privilege as the owner of a large house in Vermont who can afford domestic help). Having grown up in the Caribbean she is keenly aware of how precious the aesthetic pleasures of the domestic garden are when set alongside the mercenary priorities of plantation agriculture on the one hand and the imperialist ‘botany thieves’ (and the Latin nomenclature they imposed) on the other.

There are few moments of tranquility here. Her reflections on Spring are punctuated by the killing (or fantasies of killing) rabbits, snakes, bugs and slugs, but the contradictions are sharpest in the longest essay in the book, ‘Plant Hunting in China’. As Kincaid describes the organized tour – her attention largely absorbed by the behaviour of her fellow-travellers, the unvarying diet of ‘pork, pork, pork, pork’, and the unsanitary conditions and practices she observes (and must herself occasionally endure) – she comes close to occupying the position of the tourist she famously despises in A Small Place. It certainly seems to confirm that she has now (as she puts it in another essay) ‘joined the conquering classes.’ And here perhaps any comparison with C L R James breaks down. But the book leaves us with much to reflect on.

Jamaica Kincaid: A Small Place

Who is speaking in this book? There are several voices here and while their utterances may readily be described as heartfelt or brutally honest, they also feel slightly contrived. It is as if A Small Place is an exercise in invective rather than an expression of it.

I was prompted to re-read A Small Place after being introduced to Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba. These letters from defiant young revolutionaries addressed to North American readers were actually written by a US sociologist. C Wright Mills begins and ends the book with reflections of his own, but the narrator in the main body of the text is a composite persona he created on the basis of extensive interviews during his visit to the island in 1960.

Kincaid grew up in Antigua so she is not an outsider like Mills. But she left the island at an early age and by the time she came to write A Small Place she had lived in the United States for nearly thirty years, and so to begin her essay as a native (who gives no indication of ever having been abroad) addressing the reader as a hypothetical tourist arriving in her country is to adopt an identity almost as fictional as Mills’.

And the point of view is equally heterogeneous. If the first part offers a sarcastic assault on the ignorance of the tourist (the most striking, most enjoyable part of the book, the one that most readers remember), the second turns on the white settler elite of colonial Antigua (flavoured with childhood reminiscences), and the target of the third is the corrupt alliance of big business and government that replaced it following independence. Gradually the voice shifts from that of a local who can do nothing but pour scorn on the wealthy visitor to that of an educated outsider who despairs that ordinary Antiguans seem to acquiesce in this new state of affairs, and are unwilling to take responsibility for themselves. By the end the narrator has shed all traces of solidarity with her fellow-islanders, referring to them in the third person: ‘Once they are no longer slaves, once they are free, they are no longer noble and exalted; they are just human beings.’

There is a hint of an alternative future for the Caribbean, one that builds on the dream of democracy represented by the founding of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union in 1939 and Maurice Bishop’s revolution in Grenada. But characteristically it is Bishop’s fate – ‘at the hands of the Americans’ – that closes off these reflections rather than the uprising against the Duvalier dictatorship two years before the book was published (at the end of the essay Baby Doc still seems to be in power). And so A Small Place ends, calling for Antiguans to develop ‘a different relationship with the world, a more demanding relationship, a relationship in which they are not victims’, but giving little sign that this is likely to happen.

The passion of the book is superficial, for this cynicism empties its passion of any force. ‘And so look at this prolonged visit to the bile duct that I am making, look at how bitter, how dyspeptic just to sit and think about these things makes me,’ she writes. Is there not something unreliable about a narrator who is so archly self-conscious about her own moves? Kincaid declines and conjugates rage in a way that leaves me rather cold.

C Wright Mills: Listen Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba

Reporting on his 1960 visit to Cuba, C Wright Mills did not write a conventional travelogue or journalistic account. He chose to have his book narrated by a composite Cuban revolutionary, and it consists of a series of letters addressed to his North American readers. ‘Most of the words are mine,’ Mills writes in his introduction, ‘– although not all of them; the arguments, the tone, the interpretations, the tang and feel – they are in the main directly Cuban. I have merely organized them – in the most direct and immediate fashion of which I am capable.’

The result is a powerful defence of the revolution, which calls upon its readers in the US to challenge the ‘Yankee imperialism’ that is being pursued in their name and to support this brave experiment that seeks to pursue a middle way between Capitalism (which ‘sacrifices man’) and Communism (which ‘sacrifices the rights of man’) .

The book caused quite a stir at the time and sold close to half a million copies. But it is hardly known today. Listen, Yankee is out of print and has not attracted anything like the critical attention paid to Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, an equally passionate challenge from the Caribbean that accusingly fingers a similar audience, and with which it might be usefully compared.

Elizabeth Burns: Held

The vocabulary used in this collection is perhaps best characterised by what it excludes. There is very little non-standard or ‘new’ English here, very little dialect, vernacular, slang, other languages. The use of proper names is tightly controlled – a few places and people here and there; certainly almost no trace of current affairs, brands, popular culture. It goes without saying that no one talks like this – no one could get far in everyday life with such a restricted stock of words – but it is unusual to find even poetry like this today.

This is one reason why Burns’ poems seem so fragile and precious. It seems almost unbelieveable that they can hold off the teeming heteroglossia that surrounds them. It is certainly noticeable when a slightly low word like ‘shove’ appears (‘An eighteenth-century experiment’) or a slightly specialized one like ‘felucca’ (‘A homecoming’), while the rare specificity of ‘Silloth’, ‘Carstairs’, ‘Cold War’, and ‘Nazis’ draw you into geography and history. And for me these moments give an extra pleasure, not least because they gently remind you that the collection’s persistent themes (bereavement, creativity) always emerge from the evocation of a particular place and time even if the reader couldn’t pin them them on a map or a calendar.

But the most characteristic feature of Held – its signature, even – is its astounding ability to span centuries and continents in a few lines, as the observation of something so humble as a stone coffin, an excavated trench , a river approaching the sea, gives way to a glimpse of its distant past or possible future.

In ‘Transport’, for example, an image of barges laden with gunpowder pulled by horses takes us back to the crofters gathering the kelp ash used in its production and forwards to the sea voyage and explosions on the other side of the ocean. ‘History’ combines in one view – and a sublimely condensed apprehension of human and geological time-scales – the ruins of an abbey and a nuclear power station, ‘whose indestructible / waste is in the seabed where layers of sediment / became the quarried sandstone, heaved over salt marsh // to be turned into an abbey.’

The front cover of the book features a white porcelain moon jar in the British Museum (and the subject of one of the poems), but the material objects in these poems are not trapped in a display case; they are invested with labour, love, power and suffering. As the title suggests, it’s what’s inside them, the secret biographies they harbour, that counts.

Sometimes, it is true, the poems themselves seem a little too laboured and unconvincing. The metaphor of portrait and sitter in ‘Diptych’ feels overextended so that its point becomes unclear. The historical sweep of ‘Holy Water’ from mediaeval monks to nuclear subs packs in more descriptive and explanatory clauses than it needs, I think. And the collection closes with ‘This life’ – whose title I imagine unwittingly duplicates that of the cult TV series: it is the only time we find ourselves in an urban environment, and I wonder if it isn’t just its protagonist (a characteristic ‘you’) but the writer herself who feels uncomfortable there, as she slips into a series of glib, short, generalizing nouns before resting more sure-footedly on the sensuous particular: ‘… but this life with its city streets, // its fizz and mix and mess, its rush of sweet-pea scent, / the lightness of their petals, their brief and lovely bloom.’

Rodney Saint-Éloi: Haïti, kenbe la!

book cover

Rodney Saint-Éloi

Haïti kenbe la!

Paris: Éditions Michel Lafon, 2010

 

 

 

 

Like Dany Laferrière’s Tout Bouge Autour De Moi, this is a first-hand account of Haiti’s earthquake by a Haitian-Canadian author who was in Port-au-Prince for the Etonnants Voyageurs book festival in January 2010.

Neither has yet been translated into English, but they should be. For many years now it has been customary to tag Haiti as ‘the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere’ in foreign news reports, and coverage of the earthquake often reinforced the tendency to treat the country and its people as victims who can do little to help themselves. Neither the sour commentaries of those who blame Haiti’s misfortunes on an endemic fatalism so often attributed to ‘voodoo’ nor the well-meaning efforts of the thousands of NGOs who provide aid ‘from above’ contribute much to the vital task of extending and strengthening democratic participation in a society dominated by a tiny rich elite; indeed, they have been accused of deliberately thwarting it.

Saint-Eloi does not confront this situation head-on. He is a poet and publisher (he runs Mémoire d’encrier in Montréal) not a grassroots activist, and although he returns frequently, he has not lived in Haiti for more than a decade. Accordingly, his perspective is that of a visitor. The narrative begins in media res as he drifts in and out of sleep on the tennis court of the Hotel Karibe where he and the other guests spend the night after being forced to evacuate when catastrophe struck the previous afternoon. In the course of the book, we meet a large cast of characters, including fellow writers (many of them, like his friend Dany, put up at the hotel by the festival) and members of his family, as he moves about the city observing scenes of devastation and the efforts to rescue the living and bury the dead.

Despite the sloganistic title (a popular Kreyòl expression meaning ‘Never Give Up!’), Haïti, kenbe la! is an episodic collection of low-key personal impressions and recollections. Children amuse themselves with water pistols; a woman’s naked body is found the arms of her illicit lover and her husband buries them together; a radio announcer reads out the names of survivors; a policeman who avoids injury because he is late for work; ways of concealing the smell of death; the sound of hymns, prayers; thieves ransacking a displacement camp; journalists taking photos of corpses. The city takes shape through the accumulation of telling details. And indeed Saint-Eloi compares his method of composition to the way his mother in New York synthesizes information from many different sources in order to construct the compelling story of the earthquake she tells him over the phone.

After a couple of nights, he moves out of the hotel and stays with friends in a house overlooking a makeshift camp. They ration their food, but allow themselves a bottle of wine now and again. Before the week is out, Saint-Eloi is offered a seat on a military aircraft flying to Montreal, alongside other Haitian-Canadians – but only those with a Canadian passport are permitted to leave.

He allows many voices to speak – often without comment, giving us a Haiti in which different faiths vie for attention, and a strongly patriotic sense of history coexists alongside a cynical dismissal of current leaders, where the overseas aid represents relief for some and suffering for others, and the possibilities offered by emigration forms the horizon of so many lives. Through the story-teller Grann Tida, Saint-Eloi suggests Haiti has long represented to outsiders either the appealing primitive or the threatening savage, but it has also answered back. ‘Touris pa pran pòtrè ‘m’ (‘Tourist, don’t take my picture’) she says, quoting Felix Morisseau-Leroy’s famous poem, while conceding that it is not likely to have much effect.

Yet if the tourist would read this book, perhaps another Haiti could come into focus, one that is not designed to answer the outsider’s hopes or fears. ‘Resilient’, perhaps, although Saint-Eloi bristles at such an abstract concept. This Haiti is essentially one in which people just get on with things. A Haiti that lives for the present. If you fall, you get up – an attitude illustrated by the new neighbours in the ‘village’ that sprung up near his temporary home in Delmas: Zaka and his friends, playing dominoes, slamming down the tiles, their everyday chat – music, carnival, women, the price of rice and corn – punctuated with bursts of laughter.

But the hero of the book is undoubtedly Franketienne (who in Rapjazz: Journal d’un paria has recently written his own, rather more poetic, tribute to the city). We first meet the writer and artist hard at work rebuilding his house in Port-au-Prince. Later, Saint-Eloi takes a call from him in Montreal. He jokes about the Nobel Prize everyone expects him to win and reads a passage from his new play which is soon to be produced in Paris.

Since his return, he has struggled to resume his old life, haunted by the fury of the goudougoudou. But he emerges from the conversation with renewed vigour. ‘Franketienne had just reminded me that hope is not a utopia,’ he writes. ‘Franketienne had just reminded me that hope was Haitian.’

Some other first-hand accounts of the earthquake are included in Haiti Rising: Haitian History, Culture And The Earthquake Of 2010, edited by Martin Munro.

José María Arguedas: The Fox from Up Above and the Fox from Down Below

book coverJosé María Arguedas

The Fox from Up Above and the Fox from Down Below

translated by Frances Horning Barraclough ; edited by Julio Ortega

Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000

 

I love this novel. Even on a first reading – when it is obvious that you’re going to miss so much – it is a hugely rewarding experience.

The author‘s death tends to overshadow the interpretation of the book – as a kind of extended suicide note – but I enjoyed it above all as a brilliant and complex contribution to the literature of place. There is a large cast of memorable characters here, but the main character is surely Chimbote itself. Their criss-crossing journeys across the city offer the reader the opportunity to view it from many different angles, and the result is a remarkably sophisticated exercise in social, economic and political geography. The uneven distribution of power and wealth is quite visible in the layout of the conurbation and its lines of communication. Trawler, brothel, factory, market, cemetery: these are not simply settings in the novel but locations whose capacity to shape the action that takes place there is of crucial significance.

On some level the novel, with its passing derogatory remarks about Cortazar, Carpentier, Fuentes and Garcia Marquez, is also a provocative challenge to the mainstream Latin American novel, which certainly looks hopelessly gentrified after reading this unsparing immersion in the lives characters that include an itinerant preacher, a popsicle vendor, a prostitute expecting a baby, a crooked businessman, an unscrupulous factory manager, a corrupt labour leader, a pig-raiser, a trawler captain, a Yankee priest and a former peace corps volunteer who has gone native. Only the editorial apparatus can indicate how Arguedas combined Spanish and Quechua in his text, often creating new words from both languages, but the translation gives a good impression of the range of sociolects as it switches expertly between standard and vernacular Englishes.

If the book takes its title from a Quechua myth and while the narrative duplicates its themes of ‘above’ and ‘below’ in its fascination with the complex encounter of the mountain-dwelling Indians who are drawn to work in the rapidly industrializing port on the coast, the relation between the two stories is not merely analogical. One of the foxes appears in the novel as a somewhat enigmatic character, and it may be that Foxes is a critical rewriting of the myth, answering it back, out-doing it perhaps. Whether a second reading will make this any clearer I don’t know, but it will certainly be just as compelling.