The history of Cyprus offers a reflection of larger world history. Coveted by a succession of foreign powers, it has been repeatedly occupied: the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, crusaders, Venetians, Genoese, Ottomans, and British have all left their mark on this Mediterranean island. Alongside the Roman and early Byzantine ruins of Salamis, other impressive monuments date from the Frankish and Venetian times, including the Abbey of Bellapais; the fortified harbor of Kyrenia; the magnificent cathedrals of Nicosia; and Famagusta, the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello.
In The Geckos of Bellapais, Joachim Sartorius shares the cultures and legends, colors and lights of the Levant. He explores the island’s history—including its division after the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the difficulties that followed. A revealing exploration of Cyprus after the Turkish partition and an evocative account of one poet’s life on one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, this book belongs among the world’s best travel writing.
In the 1920s, before the establishment of Israel, a group of German Jews settled in a garden city on the outskirts of Jerusalem. During World War II, their quiet community, nicknamed Grunewald on the Orient, emerged as both an immigrant safe haven and a lively expatriate hotspot, welcoming many famous residents including poet-playwright Else Lasker-Schüler, historian Gershom Scholem, and philosopher Martin Buber. It was an idyllic setting, if fraught with unique tensions on the fringes of the long-divided holy city. After the war, despite the weight of the Shoah, the neighborhood miraculously repaired shattered bonds between German and Israeli residents. In German Jerusalem, Thomas Sparr opens up the history of this remarkable community and the forgotten borderland they called home.
The Language of Birds
Norbert Scheuer Haus Publishing, 2018 Library of Congress PT2680.E84S6713 2018 | Dewey Decimal 833.914
It is 2003, and Paul Arimond is serving as a paramedic in Afghanistan. The twenty-four-year-old has no illusions of becoming a hero. Rather, he has chosen the army to escape the tragedies of his past and his own feelings of guilt. As a result, he finds himself in the same land, now war-torn, where an ancestor of his, Ambrosius Arimond, a late eighteenth-century traveler and ornithologist, once explored and developed the theory of a universal language of birds.
As visceral horrors and everyday banalities of the war threaten to engulf Paul, he, like his great-great-grandfather, finds his very own refuge in Afghanistan’s natural world. In a diary filled with exquisite drawings of birds and ruminations on the life he left behind, Paul describes his experiences living with two comrades who are fighting their own demons and his befriending of an Afghan man, Nassim, as well as his dreams of escaping the restrictive base camp and visiting the shores of a lake visible from the lookout tower. But when he finally reaches the lake one night, he finds himself in the midst of a chain of events that, with his increasingly fragile state of mind, has dramatic—and ultimately heartbreaking—consequences.
A meditative novel that shows a new side to the conflict in Afghanistan, The Language of Birds takes a moving look at the all-too-human costs of war and questions what it truly means to fight for freedom.
A sensory and poetic guide to the island of Cyprus.
The island of Cyprus has been a site of global history and conquest, and its strategic position means it has been coveted by one foreign power after another. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Genoese, Ottomans, and British have all left their mark. Along with the Roman and Byzantine ruins of Salamis, the island holds impressive monuments dating from the Frankish and Venetian times: the Abbey of Bellapais, the fortified harbor of Kyrenia, and the magnificent cathedrals of Nicosia and Famagusta, the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello.
Having lived in Cyprus for three years, Joachim Sartorius returns to the island’s cultures and legends and brings to life the colors and lights of the Levant area of the Middle East. He sifts through the sediments of the island’s history, including its division after the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the difficulties that followed. Rather than focusing solely on historical or political factors, this book is the work of a poet, who, with the help of both Greek and Turkish Cypriot friends, tries to understand this unique place.
As German Jews, Regina Steinig and her daughter Lucia are forced into hiding during the Second World War. Finding refuge in the workshop of a local beltmaker, they hold on to each other as they live in constant fear of discovery by his neighbors and customers. When their hideaway is damaged in an air raid in the closing months of the war, the women are forced on the run and are locked in a desperate battle for survival.
Based on a true story, On the Rope is an account of extreme courage in the face of danger, violence, and hatred. Exploring themes of displacement and survival, friendship and family, it ends with the women’s efforts to bring recognition the selfless heroism of those who faced tremendous personal risk in order to protect them. A novella by one of Europe’s most prominent literary novelists, On the Rope layers deeply personal stories in a grounded historical account of life before, during, and after the Second World War. It paints a vivid picture of the hardships forced upon people by conflict and separation, depicting the forming and unravelling of relationships as a fact of life.
Off the coast of Istanbul, in the Marmara Sea, lie the Princes Islands, an archipelago of unusual natural beauty, which has long been considered the maritime suburb of the imperial capital on the Bosporus and effectively shaped by its manifold history. The poet Joachim Sartorius draws a loving portrait of the landscape and the light, the political observer Sartorius describes the microcosm, which was always a reflection of Istanbul-Constantinople-Byzantium, while the novelist Sartorius introduces us to the characters, who inhabit this time capsule.
For the Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke, travel was not only integral to his work, it was a way of life. Venice stands out as a location of particular importance to Rilke, and he visited the city ten times between 1897 and 1920. This city has inspired countless writers and artists, but Rilke, both enthralled and provoked by it, reveals a striking and deeply felt love for the city. He was as eager to explore the city’s underbelly, its deserted shipyards and back alleys, as he was to experience its iconic sights of St. Mark’s and the Doge’s Palace. Staying in both simple guesthouses and the grand palaces of his patrons, Rilke would walk prodigiously. His contemporary Stefan Zweig commented that “knowing every last corner and depth of the city was his passion” and Rilke himself said his walking allowed him to “grasp the whole breadth of the city.”
In eleven walks, Birgit Haustedt guides readers through Venice following the poet’s footsteps. Haustedt invites us to look on the beloved sights of the city through Rilke’s eyes, offering a new vision of this famed destination. Rilke’s Venice provides new insight into one of the finest and most widely recognized writers of the twentieth century. It also acts as a literary travel companion and guidebook to Venice, offering eleven detailed maps of walks through the city.