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Keywords: Gillian Bouras

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The exile of place and time

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 June 2022
    3 Comments

    Writers are not only preoccupied, among other things, with the concept of place, but also with the matter of time and its passing. Novelist L.P. Hartley famously wrote that the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. Cretan Nikos Kazantzakis considered that ‘the face of Greece is a palimpsest bearing twelve successive inscriptions,’ and he went on to list them, from the 1930s, when he wrote these words, to the Stone Age.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Received lives

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 07 June 2022
    6 Comments

    I admit to a weakness for pomp and pageantry. I am, after all, a child of Empire, and swore allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II every Monday morning for years on end. So I watched the recent Trooping of the Colour, part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and thoroughly enjoyed it, admiring the military precision and all the discipline required, the glitter, the splendour, the dashing aristocrats of the equine world, the sheer vividness of the unrolling scene. And all in honour of the Queen’s birthday.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The pity of war

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 26 May 2022
    11 Comments

    In the photo I have just seen Vadim Shishimarin is in the dock, hanging his head. He is 21, but looks about 15 as he stands there in the polycarbonate box, the first Russian soldier to be charged and tried in Ukraine for a war crime. He holds the rank of sergeant and was a tank commander. At 21? (I’m embarrassed to recall how immature I was at 21.) It is likely he has a mother: I wonder how she is feeling right now, but think I can make a good guess.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A Peloponnesian Anzac

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 April 2022
    3 Comments

    The lives of migrants often consist of divisions and collisions at the border between the old life and the new. But sometimes both lives come together in unexpected ways, and one such conjunction is about to happen to me. On Anzac Day my granddaughter will join the great flow of Orthodoxy, but I hope one day she will know about her little trickle of Australian blood. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Power but no glory

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 31 March 2022

    People who understand more about international affairs than I do tell me that the Ukrainian/Russian matter is complex, but to me the matter seems simple enough, involving the obsessions of a powerful man, and the suffering of an innocent population. As usual, it is the women and the children who are bearing the brunt of the conflict, while President Putin remains supremely indifferent to their fate. And, as so often, I wonder what makes him tick.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Kermit and the green-eyed monster

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 22 February 2022
    12 Comments

    Kermit the Frog, of enduring Muppets and Sesame Street fame, was always a favourite with my children and me: he was so amusing and appealing, and also had a way of unobtrusively communicating simple goodness along with the occasional moral message. He was also concerned with the most important matter of the self, so that in his most famous song he puts a positive spin on the matter of greenness, the colour of envy and jealousy. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    From before the flood

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 25 January 2022
    8 Comments

    I’m not sure that my Greek grandchildren know the word antediluvian or whether they have heard of Methuselah, but they certainly consider me an ancient relic who occasionally tells tall tales and true from the legendary past, and from another land. Of course they are unable to conceive of life or domestic space without screens: even my youngest grandchild, who has just had her first birthday, knows when a Skype call is imminent, and coos accordingly.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The sovereign good

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 25 November 2021
    20 Comments

    Attitudes towards truth have changed. Now we accept the idea that there are different sorts of truth: the phrases historical truth, narrative truth and emotional truth come trippingly off the lips of vast numbers of people. Then there are the complex notions of fantasy and fiction: we have long subscribed to the notion of novelists making up various ‘lies’ or fantasies in order to tell underlying truths about human nature. But we also have to accept, I think, that a gentleman’s word is no longer his bond.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Revisiting American Dirt

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 04 November 2021
    12 Comments

    Writers inevitably learn bitter lessons, including one about readers who will be wounded, hurt, or at least deeply offended by their work. There is usually more than one group of these, for people become upset for reasons that are many and varied. Such is the case in the reaction to Jeanine Cummins’ fourth book, American Dirt. Cummins has been variously accused of stereotyping, racism, narcissism, and of lacking in empathy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The matter of trust

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 19 August 2021
    9 Comments

    My son’s Athenian flat was burgled last month. I had been visiting Athens for the first time in more than a year, and so was with the family when they arrived back, after a fairly brief evening absence, to sheer chaos. Anybody who has had this experience will be able to picture the scene: every drawer and cupboard had been opened, with the contents spilled and strewn everywhere. Even the loft had been checked.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The value of novels

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 26 July 2021
    19 Comments

    I was at university when I first heard of the so-called death of the novel, and was frightened by the thought. But I’ve since heard the phrase many times during the ensuing decades, and am cheered by the fact that so far the novel has clung to life, albeit precariously, while novelists persist in writing, despite the many drawbacks attendant upon the practice.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A new view of exile

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 18 May 2021
    18 Comments

    Even though I tried to count my blessings and to avoid my besetting sin of self-pity, migration was hard. And decades later I still think it was hard. Sometimes I wonder how I survived it.

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