Showing posts from July, 2014

A Feast of Fools

As I write this, there are only 15 days to go until the UK publication of Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb.  I am a huge fan of the Farseer/Tawny Man trilogies, and especially of the Fool.  I was devasted by how his story was left hanging at the end of Fool's Fate, and am very excited (and somewhat nervous) to see how things will progress in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy. Robin Hobb's Fool is one of the all-time great fantasy characters.  However much we get to know him, he will always remain a mystery.  (Is he even truly a he, for a start?)  A self-confessed coward yet courageous, affectionate yet capable of inflicting deep hurt, learned yet a fool, he shifts gender, changes colour and is impossible to pin down.  His love for Fitz is heartbreakingly touching, and his androgyny and insistence that love doesn't require sex make him, for me, one of the great asexual icons. The Fool has influenced me professionally as well as personally.  It is safe to say that

A Castrato in London

Back in March, I wrote a post about "the castrato poet", Filippo Balatri.  I said it would be great if someone who knew Italian could translate a website I'd found about him and his autobiographical poem, Frutti del Mondo. It gives me great pleasure to say that Leon Conrad, who I interviewed in my last blog, has done just that!  What follows is Leon's rough (and amazingly speedy) translation of a section of Frutti del Mondo  dealing with Balatri's visit to London.  According to Leon, this extract really shows off Balatri's sense of humour, as well as being a fascinating insight into the life of a castrato singer.  A huge thanks to Leon for this favour. It’s dedicated to ‘The Hon. Mr W orld’ by his humble servant.   This is a rough summary of  the section which covers  his trip to the UK , along with some additional notes added on to the text on the website.   I  arrive in  a marvellously walled city. Accompanied by a nobleman. I ask him to leave me at an inn.