4 books on my mind

Four books that remain with me, each dealing with Man’s humanity/inhumanity, emphasis on the latter.

Black Lamb, Grey Falcon, A Journey Through Yugoslavia (1941) – Rebecca West’s magnum opus. 1,200 dense pages on travel in the Balkans on the eve of World War II. A millennium of suffering past, with the region facing more, much more of it, unsuspecting. Hard to forget.

Faces and Masks, Part Two of the Trilogy Memory of Fire (1987), and Mirrors, Stories of Almost Everyone (2009) – Two of Eduardo Galeano’s curious and poetic compendiums that outline the history of the world and the West’s dominance over North and South America’s native peoples, presented without irony and leaving a body of images in the mind that, as with the Balkans, seem indelible. “I’m a writer,” the author once said of himself, “obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.”

The Buried Giant (2015) – Kazuo Ishiguro’s fable slowly unfolds, revealing a future of pain. I listened to this one; the marriage of reader and text seemed to elevate the message for me, entering my brain via my ears rather than my eyes.