Many thanks for the following reader 5-star rating !
Great thriller – review by Vasee (at Barnes and Noble)
I started this book thinking it couldn’t possibly work. At least, not at the length it runs. But it truly does.
Though this kind of apocalyptic tale has been tackled plenty of times before, Suter makes it so personal that it’s difficult for a reader to stay at arm’s length. This is despite the main character only ever being referred to as “Alan”. It was exceptionally easy to place myself in the characters’ position. I felt keenly Alan’s waning resolve and his increasingly broadening acceptance of his situation.
I found Suter’s prose worked almost as a setting, too. This is a character with a simple goal and a stripped-bare existence. The prose is utilitarian, and it’s obviously a conscious decision of the author’s to present the story in this manner. On those occasions where utilitarianism gives way to sensation, the impact is enormous because of the intelligent use of contrast.
This is by no means an easy read. But it is difficult to stop once you’ve started.
Learn more about the books by Clemens P. Suter https://clemenssuter.com/books
Check out this video on YouTube. “Vegan” food for thought for the weekend. All of us are earthlings.
I am a great fan of Mr. Phoenix. I loved him in the Johnny Cash biography Walk the Line, and his performance in the romantic movie Her is truly inspirational. Inherent Vice is one of the weirdest and surprising movies of the last years, and Mr. Phoenix provides key quirkiness in his role as the detective in this who-done-it set in the seventies.
I was very interested to hear that he is vegan.
By his own admission, Mr. Phoenix has been a vegan for all his life. I am a vegetarian and at least partially vegan myself; mostly because of the dramatic impact of the meat industry on animal welfare, our environment and our health. The YouTube movie below provides some very relevant statements; core focus on the similarity between humans and animals, which I (as a trained biologist) find very inspiring.
Alan, the hero of two journeys and fields of fire is a vegetarian too. I suspect that Alan mostly does this out of compassion for animals. After all, in a post-apocalyptic world there won’t be any necessity to protect the environment. With human kind gone, nature will again take over, and many species that are currently struggling to survive due to the tremendous evolutionary pressure delivered by man, will flourish again.
Compassion towards animals is what makes us truly human and going vegan is the way to go. As recent research on animal behavior shows (and research methods have dramatically progressed over the last decennia) The boundaries between being a human and a ‘mere’ animal have become very fuzzy. There is much more of the animal in humans, and much more human in animals.
Beautiful rain the whole night through, but we woke up to even more beautiful sunshine. Let’s start the day with a nice cup of Java… And then decide how to idle the rest of it away. http://www.amazon.com/Clemens-P.-Suter/e/B005C1GXTE
Ok, so we are now deep in our self-isolation due to the pandemic. Social distancing obviously works (see this Washington Post article), so my wife and I “bolted the house door” and have dramatically limited our excursions into the outside world – like most of our acquaintances here in Germany. Not surprisingly, cabin fever has set in; that dreadful experience when the walls of the house seem to be closing in on you. It is as if breathing becomes more difficult, and the boredom is so stunning that our senses seem to be covered by an all suffocating net. I am pulling the (last) hair from of my head while gnashing my teeth! A quick look at the clock: our self-isolation has been going on for a full TEN hours!
How will we feel in ten DAYS? And what can be done to against cabin fever? I have checked across the internet and collected some ideas.
Cabin fever (also called stir-crazy, stir as in prison) is not a disease as such, but a claustrophobic reaction, resulting in irritability and restlessness, that happens when a person ends up in an isolated or solitary location, or stuck indoors in confined quarters for an extended period of time.
- Going out: even brief interactions with nature are helpful: garden, balcony, or even opening a window. Careful for those dizzy spells caused by a sudden intake of fresh air, you don’t want to drop down the building.
- Keeping a schedule and regularity, for instance for your meals and activities.
- Physical activity: indoor sports (push ups, crunches), yoga or breathing exercises. Take a look at this bloke running a marathon in his apartment. If you want to follow his example, do coordinate with your downstairs neighbors.
- Keeping your mind intellectually occupied. Perhaps try solving an intriguing problem over a longer period of time – like challenging crossword puzzles.
- Reading (I suggest these pandemic adventure stories).
- Talking with people; by telephone, or shouting from your balcony. Carefully select the channel, you may not want to share details of your sex life with random passers-by.
- Writing (like this blogpost you are reading now).
- Playing board or card games.
- Creative arts (drawing, painting, singing, dancing). Get inspired by these Italians singing.
- Can’t sing? Listen to music. Here my favorites.
- In short: stimulating your mind helps keep you moving forward and reduce feelings of isolation and helplessness.
What doesn’t help?
- Drinking too much coffee or using other stimulants.
- Sleeping too much (a good nights rest will strengthen your immune system, which in turn will help protect against infection; still, sleeping for long periods is also a symptom of cabin fever).
- Eating too much. Don’t give in to food cravings.
- Binge watching or computer gaming. Having that said, I am quite envious of my two millennial sons. After all, millennials know how to survive for weeks in a darkened room, feeding on potato chips and whiskey shots, while staring at a display, without any face-to-face interaction.
- Try to limit your social media time.
- Reading or watching too much news.
- Counting and sorting your rolls of toilet paper.
- In short: too much of any single activity is definitely detrimental.
Take some time regularly to evaluate how you are coping. Adjust your daily schedule if necessary. And most important of all: keep calm and try to keep a sense of humor. My wife and I are now well into our 11th hour of self-isolation and, at least superficially, still acting like rational, compassionate human beings. If we can cope, so can you :-)
More about the pandemic here.
For all Tarantino and Meiko Kaji fans out there: Check out this video on YouTube.
I first got to know this singer and actress through Kill Bill, the legendary movie by Quentin Tarantino. The hip seventies tunes influenced by Japanese music style made for an intriguing combination. After a long search, I ordered a CD through an international music store, and several weeks later a box arrived… through Belarus of all places! I still wonder why it was sold by a one man shop in one of the last dictatorships in Europe.
Great music, I kept on playing the CD in my car. I still do not know what the lyrics are about, I once stumbled across one translation, which was some jive about Ginza gangsters, unfamiliar stuff. I decided to buy more. I had to wait until my next trip to Tokyo to be able to pick up a box with seven CDs pure Meiko Kaji ! I also got one of her movies, vintage Japanese, with Kaji-san as the proprietress of a house of gentleman amusement, very talkative and yes, boring for the first 95%, at which points she pulls out a sharp samurai sword and kills of her opponents in a bloody battle. Curtain.
Check out Two Journeys, my novel set in Japan, e.g. available at Amazon.