You are about to begin reading my thoughts on Italo Calvino’s novel If On A Winters Night A Traveller. Relax. Concentrate.
The book slides off the shelf, self-effacing, second hand. It’s bought and opened on the underground, and in the cliché so often employed to describe the magic of great fiction, it transported me to another world, or, in the case of Invisible Cities, infinite possible worlds.
The sordid irony of location in human history has never been so cruelly exemplified as it now is, in the actions of the brazenly barbarous Islamic State. Their opportunistic infection of the Hobbesian chaos of Syria, and the militarily porous swathes of northern Iraq, places the refitted jackboot of theological fascism on land to which the world owes a debt.