I’ll not get past this passage today, from Mathias Enard’s Zone, translated so elegantly by Charlotte Mandell. Dreams of an endless train journey through old, weary places. If I read a better book than Zone this year I shall be fortunate.
” . . . and the employee (a blonde Venetian, a kind of barrette held in her mouth like a toothpick) had looked at me stunned, to Alexandria but there’s a train, and in that immediate confidence one has in professionals I had pictured, for a second, a train that would go from Venice to Alexandria in Egypt, direct via Trieste Zagreb Belgrade Thessalonica Istanbul Antioch Aleppo Beirut Acre and Port Said, a challenge to geopolitics and to the mind, and even, once I had understood her confusion, Alessandria in Piedmont, I had began to dream of a train that would unite all the Alexandrias, a network connecting Alessandria in Piedmont Alexandria Troas in Turkey Alexandria in Egypt Alexandria in Arachosia, possibly the most mysterious of them all, lost in Afghanistan far from railroads the train would be called The Alexander Express and would go from Alexandria Eschate in Tajikistan to Piedmont through the lips of Africa in thirteen days and as many nights . . .”