story: “The Salt Garden”
author: Margaret Atwood
where: Dubai, Common Ground
note: I adore this collection and find the protagonist Alma to be so layered.
a line: “She can’t remember ever having astonished any of her friends with tricks from the instruction book. Astonishing herself was enough.”
story: St. Clair Flats
author: Constance Fenimore Woolson
where: Dubai and Abu Dhabi
note: For half the story I thought the main characters were a woman and a man, and I considered this extraordinary for its time (late 19th century) since the characters seemed to be unmarried and not the least perturbed to ‘Lewis and Clark’ around the American Great Lakes, but alas, I learned the characters were two male companions!
a line: “How boundless is looks! One hill in the distance, one dark line of forest, even one tree, would break its charm. I have seen the ocean, I have seen the prairies, I have seen the great desert, but this is like a mixture of the three. It is an ocean full of land, –a prairie full of water, –a desert full of verdure.’”
story: Spring in Fialta
author: Vladimir Nabokov
year: 1936 (English 1947)
where: Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort
note: sometimes on an ordinary day, you need to read a masterpiece
a line: “And regardless of what happened to me or to her, in between, we never discussed anything, as we never thought of each other during the intervals in our destiny, so that when we met the pace of life altered at once, all its atoms were recombined, and we lived in another, lighter time-medium, which was measured not by the lengthy separations but by those few meetings of which a short, supposedly frivolous life was thus artificially formed. ”