John Berger: Confabulations

There is something therapeutic and enlightening about these essays that are of diverse scope but which are bound with a single string. That string is language — and not just the spoken, but also the unspoken; the pre-verbal, the danced, the hidden, the sung, the articulate, the inarticulate, the visual.

Just a few books ago, Rica Bolipata – Santos beautifully expressed that writing is, “An added gift to the love of reading.”

For John Berger, writing is, “An offshoot of something deeper… our relationship with language.” Language, to him, is a creature, “A quivering almost wordless ‘thing’.”

Language is that which acquires a body when it is sung, or played, or danced, as in music; it is el duende of which Federico Garcia Llorca wrote, the spirit, the gestures, “Gestures that are the mothers of all the dances of the ages”!

But these string of thoughts also hint at the things that distract us from it, the diversions from what is “true, essential, and urgent.” More than that other book of his, this one will somehow recalibrate our ways of seeing, and if we allow it further, our ways of living. 

The pre-verbal, the danced, the hidden, the sung, the articulate, the inarticulate, the visual, the musical… all at once, there is a sudden inspiration to live in every language I know.

5 thoughts on “John Berger: Confabulations”

  1. I recently finished Bergers “to the wedding”. Damn I was in tears in some parts! I’ve been meaning to ask you two questions my mystery online friend ….a) what’s your name? (Lol!) and b) what books would you recommend me to buy and read? What are your all time fave books that you recommend I read (since we have similar tastes). Thanks and have a good day! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will look for a copy of “To the Wedding”!

      My real name is Miracle but friends call me Mira for short. ^_^

      Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name is Red” came to mind right away. Aside from the fact that it is written uniquely, it has so many references to culture, history, and art (from the region most intriguing to us). I also read Salman Rushdie’s “Enchantress of Florence” around the time I discovered “My Name Is Red” and thoroughly enjoyed it. Have you read these two? We can start with that. I’m afraid that if I begin with a list, it will become never-ending. Hahaha

      Elif Shafak also has some entertaining and informative novels that you might like. She hasn’t reached “favorite” status on my list but I have learned a great deal from her.


      1. Oh wow, your name is so cool! Is it ok to call you Mira then? 😀

        Thanks for those two recommendations. I have not read them so have put them to the top of my must read list. I haven’t read any Orhan Pamela but have heard good things so I better change that! I have read one of Shafak’s books, The Architects Apprentice. Brilliant book. I should read more of hers too.

        You’ve given me some wonderful ideas. Thanks so much! Have a fab weekend x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, you may call me Mira! And… I just got back! It was such a wonderful trip! I’m tempted to add a travel section to this blog so I can share my adventures with you. We’ll see in the coming days!


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