June 11th, 2012

Roland Garros: Men's Final

Great tennis matches occur when both players are firing on all cylinders at the same time. There wasn't a whole lot of that yesterday. First Nadal was dominant, then Djokovic, then rain stopped play. D threw his racket and broke a bench, N got into a strop because the rain was misting his contact lenses. Play continues today, weather permitting. 

Sport is also about character. A game is not only a game but a morality play. On this occasion Djokovic (brief explosions of temper followed by immediate repentance) made a better showing than Nadal (prolonged adolescent sulkiness and voluble ill-humour). 

Possession: A.S. Byatt

A Victorian tragic romance folded up inside a modern romantic comedy- rather beautiful and quite extraordinarily clever with all its mirrorings, doublings and post-modern self awareness. If Charlotte Bronte had come after Joyce and Nabokov- instead of so long before them- this is the sort of thing she might have written. 

Just one note of regret: the poems ascribed to the imagined Victorian protagonists don't quite work. They are the simulacra of poems, not really poems at all. Poetry is one thing you can't fake- not even if you are a wonderfully skilled writer of other things. Real poems have an inner life- a certain vitality of language- which these cleverly-crafted pastiche poems almost entirely lack.