mjj (flemmings) wrote,
mjj
flemmings

I've started two novels about Malaysia in the mid-20th century and can't bear to read either. It's obvious to me now why the Communist party should have been popular; I need to read some wiki to find out why it didn't succeed.

Meanwhile The old ways: a journey on foot is beautifully written and totally mystifying. That's because I'm a city child in a very large country where there are plenty of ways to get you where you want to go, not a single well-trampled narrow road to the deep north. Once out of the city I can certainly start walking, but there won't be old traces of old pathways, that I can still follow, leading across meadows to some paleolithic ring barrow. (This is why I maintain that Britain is a place where the past piles up and remains accessible.) Maybe there are old portage routes out there, but I suspect they lie under six-lane highways. Best one can do in TO is the occasional curvy break-the-grid and follow-the-landscape road, which was possibly a Mississauga Indian trail. Outside TO the landscape is concrete and undifferentiated and very hard to get anywhere on foot. (See: very large country.)

Maybe if there'd been photographs in the book, or more photographs, I might have had an inkling what he's talking about with his list of various kinds of pathways. As it is, I can only envy a land so deeply marked by human history.

(Oh, and here's a mention of my neighbourhood oddities. I did wonder about that elephant in the front yard.)
Tags: place, reading_14
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