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Opobo women and children in Nigeria in the late nineteenth century The central theme of The Icarus Girl, by Helen Oyeyemi, seems to western readers to be supernatural. TillyTilly is real, or she is not. There is no in-between. Eight-year-old Jessamy has developed mental issues.   But to readers familiar with the dual worlds of the …

  • April 30, 2020
  • Culture , Review
  • Comments Off on The Icarus Girl – a Review

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Albanian sworn virgin, circa 1910 If you are looking for an in-depth examination of the history of the sworn virgin (or burnesha) phenomenon in the mountains of Northern Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo, Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones, is probably not where you want to start. But if you want to understand, to live a possibility …

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On January 10, 2016 an earthquake struck the southern African nation of Zambia near Kariba Dam.  It wasn’t very big, with a magnitude of 4.6, and it didn’t cause any damage that was reported.  But it did lead to a lot of talk about what caused the earthquake – and while tectonic plates and fault …

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Werk IV, Pašino Brdo, Sarajevo When the Austro-Hungarians occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878, they began a vast construction project of forts around the country, in particular around the city of Sarajevo.  The forts, constructed in the typically solid Austrian style, were meant to protect from the most likely invasion – a Serb army sweeping …

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Poets have the gift to speak for others, Vasko Popa had the very rare quality of hearing the others –Octavio Paz BLIND SUN Two blighted legs Holding a blind sun The morning rays – gone to work On the other side of the sky Rather than its threshold The noon is beyond the Pale Cavorting …

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The only thing people really remember in the folklore about the Despotess Jerina is that she was a terrible and horrifying woman. She threw her lovers into the deep inner well of Maglič Fortress, near Kraljevo in Serbia. She threw children into the River Đetinja from the highest tower of the Užice Fortress. And she …

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It’s hard to keep track of all the different names used in all the different regions of the Balkans. This makes history a bit more difficult, because when things like Thrace, Illyria, Dalmatia, Ragusa, Dubrovnik, Macedonia, North Macedonia, and all the names in between are being tossed about, keeping them straight becomes nearly impossible. And …

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Getting ready for travel can be almost as much fun as the actual traveling. Actually, given the issues with airline seats, airborne infections, and jet lag, the travel part isn’t that great. Visiting is great, for sure. But traveling to the area to be visited? Maybe some people are masochists and enjoy the armrest struggle …

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