e c l e c t i c a n o n f i c t i o n
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Back There, Back Then
We were as determined as any garbage pickers to get what we came for: old linoleum and blocks of wood, especially those with nails, which would be augmented with our own personal rubber bands scavenged from kitchen drawers. We were making weapons, zip guns of a sort, and even as we ran over the cracked asphalt and rusty pipes and deteriorating remains of tenements, even as we waved raw materials too dilapidated to be sold as scrap, even as we tripped and skinned our knees, we were filled with a rare feeling of power.
An Audience with the Emperor of Midnight: Late Night Chats with Edouard Roditi
Having spent a somewhat solitary boyhood in Paris, at the age of nine Roditi was sent by his parents to be educated in England, at Elstree School in Hertfordshire. The experience was, he said, deeply shocking. He was dismayed by the cold, unheated school and by the barbarous brutality of his classmates. It was here, however, that he had a fortuitous and memorable encounter with one of the most eminent authors of English literature, Joseph Conrad.
James and the Goons
It was true that the Soviet state was not altogether efficient. The economy, in particular, was terribly inefficient, and eventually the structure would begin to crack. Meanwhile, however, in keeping order—their kind of order, the kind the Tsars had invented but the KGB had improved on—the Soviets were quite efficient. Saying a little too much could still win a citizen eight or ten years in Siberian exile or a labor camp. In Stalin's time it would have been worse, a 25-year sentence with a good chance of death during that period.