Agamemnon's Daughter: A Novella & Stories
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This collection also showcases two masterful stories: “The Blinding Order,” a parable about the uses of terror in the Ottoman Empire, and “The Great Wall,” a chilling duet between a Chinese official and a soldier in the invading army of the great conqueror, Tamerlane.
office with a long face. A meeting was called the same afternoon. The Party secretary reminded us of the attention we should pay to comments coming from the masses, and then read out his own self-criticism. The Head of Broadcasting spoke next, briefly. After emphasizing how fatal it would be not to value the views of the masses at their true worth, he too (and this was quite unprecedented!) read out a self-criticism dealing principally with the letter from Lushnjë. All of us in the Broadcasting
hold up straight, were leaning against walls and fences, staring at a slant, and sometimes upside down. There was a palpable sense of sweaty fatigue, of winding down, letting go. Two thousand eight hundred years before, Greek soldiers had probably left the scene of Iphigenia’s sacrifice in a similar state. Their faces had blanched at the sight of blood on the altar, and in their hearts they felt a gaping hole they didn’t think would ever leave them. They said not a word, and in any case they had
well that the Köprülüs have their own troubles to worry about. But a drowning man tries to pull himself out of the water by his own hair, if that’s all there is to grab!” “Now I understand why my mentioning making love in the dark made you go on and on, like a man in a fever, saying, ‘In the middle of the night, in the dark. . .’” “Yes. I’d already begun to feel I belonged to the world of the night.” She stroked him for a long while. “As long as I’m here you’ll belong to this world, the world
making off to the hills, they would spare themselves the officials’ whip, at the very least, not to mention many other punishments of every kind. I’d never understood why they constantly take masonry from the Wall to build their hovels and yards, knowing full well that they would have to bring it back to rebuild the Wall. The process, they tell me, has been going on for hundreds of years. Like the skein of wool used to make a scarf — which is then unpicked to knit a sweater, which is then undone
about you?” I responded. “Still at N?” “Ah, let’s talk about something else!” he said in the same playful tone. “I’ve not been doing too well. Actually, it wasn’t so bad down there, but I did something stupid and got transferred to running amateur theatricals in the sticks.” “Really?” “Word of honor! I put on a play that turned out to contain no less than thirty-two ideological errors! Can you imagine? Well, that’s all ancient history now, and when all’s said and done I suppose I got off rather