"The bodies were discovered straight away. A beetle first."
“Antananarivo is pronounced Tananarive, and for much of this century has been spelt that way as well. When the French took over Madagascar at the end of the last century (colonised is probably too kind a word for moving in on a country that was doing perfectly well for itself but which the French simply took a fancy to), they were impatient with the curious Malagasy habit of not bothering to pronounce the first and last syllables of place names. They decided, in their rational Gallic way, that if that was how the names were pronounced then they could damn well be spelt that way too. It would be rather as if someone had taken over England and told us that from now on we would be spelling Leicester 'Lester' and liking it. We might be forced to spell it that way, but we wouldn't like it, and neither did the Malagasy. As soon as they managed to divest themselves of French rule, in 1960, they promptly reinstated all the old spellings and just kept the cooking and the bureaucracy.”
"Yet by far the strongest and most vivid memory Beattie has of this remarkable event centers not around the final thawing of Torrington's body in the coffin, but on the lifting of the body out of the grave in preparation for autopsy"..."...as they moved him his head lolled onto Beattie's left shoulder; Beattie looked directly into Torrington's half opened eyes, only a few inches from his own. There was no rigidity of his body, and rigor mortis would have disappeared within hours of his death. Although his arms and legs were tightly bound, he was completely limp, causing Beattie to comment, 'It's as if he's just unconscious."
“Now we see it, lying in the middle of the road. A swan, a mute swan. It looks like an offcut of organza, crumpled around the edges, twitching. As we pass we see its long neck has buckled into its body like a folding chair. We see its wings are tucked back as if the tar is liquid and the swan is swimming. There are two men and a woman in the road. One man is standing on the tar, the other is directing the traffic. The woman is kneeling down beside the swan. I think she is crying, she seems to be crying, and this makes me suddenly angry. I think of all the other creatures we’ve seen since we set out. I think of the rat, the fox, the kitten, the badger. I think of the jackdaw, did you see the jackdaw? We passed it in the queue to pass the swan. Its beak was cracked open, its brains squeeged out. Why didn’t anybody stop for the jackdaw? Because the swan looks like a wedding dress, that’s why. Whereas the jackdaw looks like a bin bag. Because this is how people measure life.”
"Det er rart dette her, når det går så lang tid mellom et blogginnlegg og et annet, så blir terskelen for å komme i gang igjen så uendelig høy, ja, nesten uoverkommelig. Det er forferdelig dumt, for er det noe jeg virkelig liker her i verden så er det å skrive, men jeg merker at terskelen nå er blitt så høy - og med det også kravene jeg setter til mine egne innlegg - at jeg blir helt lammet."
"Skriv kort, skrive bare det du vil, skriv Siljete (eller Labbete i mitt tilfelle) og rett fra deg sjæl (eller meg sjøl på godt bergensk)."