Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Escape by William Somerset Maugham Review

The short story The Escape by William Somerset Maugham is written in humorist style. If the author wanted to display the plot directly, the story would be named The Escape From Marriage For a Man.

In fact, the method for canceling marriage proposal which Maugham suggested is more universal. He made a routine process of putting off the wedding. The story is short and funny.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Embroidery by Ray Bradbury Review

The story "Embroidery" by Ray Bradbury is very short in length. The plot of the story takes place within a period of ten minutes. For these ten minutes the main characters, three women are preparing embroidered patterns.

The author describes one of their works which includes: a flower, man, road, sun and a house; every detail is depicted carefully. It is a beautiful scene with one flaw in it: the man standing on the road had something wrong with his face.

The lady who created this pattern cried, she wanted to create an ideal picture. The author wrote that she "began to pick away at the thread with her little deft scissors flashing. The pattern came out thread by thread. She pulled and yanked, almost viciously. The man's face was gone. She continued to seize at the threads... The man was gone from the road. She had taken him out entirely."

The plot also describes the thoughts of the ladies who are thinking about everyday household chores. They recall these chores with nostalgic feelings because it is in the past and they know that it will never happen again.

Ray Bradbury writes about the end of the world for these people and he makes comparisons with the final actions of the characters of the story. Some readers have associated the story with the Matrix where each world is part of another world. The attitude of the people towards their destiny is the next subject which is described in the story.

The author leaves open questions about the main idea of the story. This is a topic for discussion after reader has read the story.

Here is the link to the text of the story (page 136 in the pdf-file):

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Few Days In Belgium And Around

We took this trip at the beginning of May 2019. We found a nice place to stay in Brussels. We booked it on Airbnb in five months in advance. The location was very convenient because it is exactly in the center of old Brussels;  The price was very reasonable.

The Arrival Day

From our apartments, the old Brussels can be reached quickly. The Grand Place can be reached by walking for five minutes. It is one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Europe. Each building here has its own name. Each palace was built in a different style. The photo below shows two of them.

Day One

The price of a ticket for the train is quite high but there are ways to make the journey cheaper. In our case, we had three full days. We bought tickets for ten rides for 86 Euros. Passengers have to write down the date and destination for each person for each ticket. It is possible to get of the train and get on again to continue the journey.  Our plan for the first day was to visit two prominent cities: Gent a Bruges.

The large parking place for bicycles was the first thing we saw in Gent.

The city is a paradise for bikers, there are special bicycle lanes. Gent has a few universities so there are many young people on the streets.

The city is remarkable because of its many medieval buildings, cathedrals, castles, and canals. This day was foggy and partly rainy.

Gent for many tourists is city on the way to the most visited by tourists place- Bruges.

The weather in Bruges changes often during the day. We were impressed by the number of beautiful streets and canals, they were decorated with green trees and colorful flowers.

The crowds of visitors were in only in a few central streets. The picture below shows a place full of tourists.

There are also many empty areas without tourists. They are very picturesque, we took lots of great photos there.

There are many pedestrian zones in the city.

The old buildings, water, greenery, flowers, bridges, calm streets create a fabulous atmosphere.

Bruges is photographer's paradise.

Day Two

We did some researches on the Internet before the tour. The French city of Lille is located relatively close to Brussels. There is less convenient way to reach Lille which cheaper than the train: you can take Flixbus. The price of one ticket is only 5 Euros. It takes 1.5 hours and we decided to visit this city.

The impressions were not as vivid as we had in Bruges. Lille is not a touristic place. The streets are full of cars. That’s why we couldn’t take many photos. We had to take pictures above cars pointing our cameras to the top of the buildings.

When we came back to Brussels, we had the evening to see the capital city of the European Union. The picture below shows the building of the Euro Parliament.

From the business area where the Euro Parliament is located, we rode the Metro. The Metro is very aesthetic, it wasn’t very impressive.

Day Three

This day was dedicated to exploring Belgium province. It was a Saturday, the day when weekend tickets are available, their cost is half of the usual price. We bought the tickets to Dinant.

Dinant is located on the south in a French-speaking part of Belgium. The city is considered as a hometown for the saxophone. The inventor of this instrument,  Adolphe Sax, was born in Dinant in 1814. The signs of it are everywhere.

Dinant is also frequently visited by tourists. The hills of the Ardennes and the Meuse River, old streets, forest - all together create a wonderful background for the fans of Instagram.

It was a cold day. Visiting a  cafe "Tea Room" to try the traditional Belgian waffles was a good idea, so we tried it with chocolate and with caramel. It was delicious.

On the way back to Brussels we thought about having a stop in one of beautiful villages.  We chose Lustin and it was a great choice.

We crossed the bridge and took pictures of wonderful landscapes here.   

The foam on the water added a more white color to the scenery of the picture.

Namur was the last city which we visited this day. We didn't have much time there. The city is quite pretty as other Belgium cities which we visited.

Belgium is a very interesting country for tourists. Many cultures have been living here together for centuries. Belgium provinces and countrysides are underestimated for tourists because many visitors stay in the top cities and don't know much about other places.

Belgium is a nice place to be!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Talk By Stephen Dixon Review

In the short story "Talk" by Stephen Dixon, the narrator constantly changes the way of narration from the first person to the third person and back. This literary method would be a little confusing for readers but it also makes the story unusual and memorable.
Basically, the story is about loneliness. The main character thinks about the fact that he hasn't spoken since the morning. He is a widow, who  lives alone since his wife’s death. The author wrote the character using pronouns- “I” and “he”. They referred to one person. The author splits the character into multiple personalities, as though the narrator is splitting himself into two. It seems as if the main character has someone to talk to, so as he is not alone.

The short story "Talk" was selected for inclusion in the 2014 O. Henry Prize Stories. Stephen Dixon's “Talk” presents a solitary existence which makes the protagonist a stranger to himself. Here the pronouns “he” also means “I.” As a result, form and meaning in the story are united and carry the idea of the importance of being an active member of society.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Hallucination by Isaac Asimov Review

The short story "Hallucination" by Isaac Asimov belongs to a genre of science fiction and, like other stories of Asimov, it carries the ideas related to the present.

According to the plot, the fifteen-year-old boy, Sam Chase arrived on Energy Planet. He graduated from the school on the Earth and was sent to this place for no apparent reasons. The boy wasn't interested in astrophysics.

Neurophysiology was an area which challenged him. Sam believed that, "Even today, the human brain continues to be a mystery. We know more about neutron stars than we do about the brain, as we found out when this project first began.

It was known that the project of exploring the planet is temporarily delayed. The Commander was sick. There were rumors that people who lived there were affected by hallucinations. Just after arriving, Sam was warned that it was better to stay inside the Dome (large building). However, he went outside and witnessed something which other people considered a hallucination.

Sam didn't believe the common opinion about the origin of this phenomenon: that it was a hallucination. As a result, a new form of life was discovered. It happened because he wasn't close-minded, and that made the whole difference. Besides the first project about neutron-star energy, new project was started- neurophysiology and Sam found his future.

This is the link to the story:

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Amigo Brothers by Piri Thomas Review

The short story "Amigo Brothers" by Piri Thomas put for discussion the dilemma which the main characters had. Two teenage' boxers, two friends had to fight in the tournament. Both of them dreamt twinner. They also wanted to best each other.

The author grew up in New York City. This story takes place in the neighborhood populated with Puerto Ricans and African Americans, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The author described the area where the conversation took place, on the river bank across the city, they stood in front of the railway from Brooklyn to another part of New York City.

The story carried the idea of being honest in their intentions. The friends fought with each other, but through it all, they kept their friendship intact. How was this possible ... a reader can know about it from the story. The story is short and deductive.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A New Kind of War by Ernest Hemingway Review

A New Kind of War by Ernest Hemingway represented another facet of the author's works. It is a news dispatch, a great example of journalistic skill.

Ernest Hemingway described a few scenes which he witnessed being as an American journalist in Madrid, Spain, during the Civil War 1937. The city was under siege by General Franco's Nationalist forces.

The narration started with the line "The window of the hotel is open and, as you lie in bed, you hear the firing in the front line seventeen blocks away." The war invaded into life, it was becoming closer and closer. The author wrote what he saw: "There is the acrid smell of high explosive you hoped you'd never smell again, and, in a bathrobe and bedroom slippers, you hurry down the marble stairs and almost into a middle-aged woman, wounded in the abdomen, who is being helped into the hotel entrance by two men in blue workmen's smocks."

The war in the conversations which Ernest Hemingway had, was represented as a part of everyday life for people. The literary style which the author used made the impression of the war's scenes more understandable for readers who have never been at war.

Ernest Hemingway described in this short article Madrid and the hotel where he stayed, the story of the wounded soldier Raven and Raven's commander, Jock Cunningham. The author paid much attention to describing the sensory details which appeal to the senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Thanks to it, readers have a visual picture of the time and place where the plot took place.

Here is the link to text of the article: