Friday, June 1, 2012

"Ledra Street": cities + walls (global reading challenge #5)

a review for ReviewForward

"When you walk the streets of Nicosia, my father used to say, you walk on the wounds of history. The city aches, you can feel it. Walk quietly, walk carfully, walk gently. Can you hear the groans? Can you feel the pulse?"

I've never been to Nicosia. but Nora Nadjarian took me right there, inoto the capital of this island in the East of the Mediterranean Sea, in her book "Ledra Street". And more so: she made me curious for the history of this place. This is what I learned:

Ledra Street is "a major shopping thoroughfare in central Nicosia, Cyprus, which links North and South Nicosia. It is the site of the former Ledra Street barricade where the street ran across the United Nations buffer zone. The barricade symbolised the division of Nicosia between the Greek south and Turkish north."

And Nicosia itself... "is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line."

They have a wall, too. I didn't know about that. Such a parallel to Berlin. It was reading about Nicosia that made me go and revisit my own memories of walking through Berlin, here, in: 4 Berlins, or: I am (t)here. Walking on the wounds of history, it's the same there, too.

Of course, Nora's stories don't end at the wall: they move through it, and beyond it. The collection includes 35 stories, and each of the stories sets out to explore the inner and outer shapes and walls of someone's life, there, in Nicosia. Together, the stories form a landscape of emotions, fears, and hopes that reaches far beyond this specific place. Here's another quote:

"I wore white, inside and out. There's a picture of me on the mantelpiece. Smiling; outside, not in. Crying; inside, not out. Confetti and tears. Visible invisible. Hide and Seek."

Borders and Routes
What made this read special: i know Nora from BluePrintReview, she has a story in the Micro Cosmos issue that also is about borders: "Cold / Warm / Lukewarm", and there's an author talk with her in the blueprint blog with Michael K. White.


Global Reading Challenge
This is the fifth book for my global reading challenge. the idea: to read books from each continent of the world / several countries of europe. so far, the route lead from Yugoslavia to the Middle East, then to Paris, to Alaska, and now to this island that geographically belongs to Asia, and culturally and politically is seen as part of Europe. (update: and further, the books are online here in an overview: world books)

Review Forward
This book review is inspired by Review Forward, a new online initiative for authors & book bloggers. For more reviews, visit the facebook page or the twitter stream.

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