Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ryszard Kapuściński dies

The polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuscinski died yesterday, at the age of 74.
He had quite an impressive life, witnessing many conflicts around the globe, especially in the Third World.

I really enjoy his writing so would like to take this opportunity to advise you to read The Shadow of the Sun, a collection of several dispatches and stories from Africa (his account and explanation of the 1994 Rwandan genocide is very good). Another book is about the regime of the Shah of Iran, which has been in my reading list for ages because I dont know anything about it. I might get round to it today...

Of his writing style, the NY Times says:

"He spent his working days gathering information for the terse dispatches he sent to PAP [The Polish news agency he worked for 20 years], often from places like Ougadougou or Zanzibar.

At night, he worked on longer, descriptive essays with phantasmagoric touches that went far beyond the details of the day’s events, using allegory and metaphors to convey what was happening.

“It’s not that the story is not getting expressed” in ordinary news reports, he said in an interview. “It’s what surrounds the story. The climate, the atmosphere of the street, the feeling of the people, the gossip of the town; the smell; the thousands and thousands of elements that are part of the events you read about in 600 words of your morning paper.”

No comments: