I am back ...
With fear of stating the obvious, I have returned from Greece and baring any unforseen events, regular services shall return at Alpha.Sources within the next few days. I am preparing a bumper piece on a the theoretical link between export dependency and ageing (very long and very wonkish!), so stay tuned.
Greece naturally was wonderful and although we lived close to Athens we were not affected by the fires which now, sadly, seems to be almost out of control.
I managed to thoroughly relax and did not even get to read up on that textbook I had brought. This I imagine is a good sign :). I did however read David Leavitt. I finished the Indian Clerk and Arkansas. Leavitt is an excellent writer and the Indian Cleark is a fabulous, if sometime very windy, tale whose characters are explored with an almost excessive hunger for detail by Leavitt.
The fact that Leavitt is homosexsual comes out very clearly in his writings and actually helps, in the case of the Indian Clerk, to bring nuance and depth to the description of the faculty of great literay and academic stars who roamed Cambridge during the first world war. As far as goes the stories in Arkansas some will almost surely be pushed away by the vivid display of homesexual escapades. Personally, I thought it a bit excessive (almost as if it was compulsory) at times; e.g "the Term Paper Artist" which is a pretty hefty, albeit funny, story will almost certainly make some readers frown. What is generally interesting though is that Leavitt, in my opinion, comes off much more strongly when he centers his story around a male homosexsual main character as e.g. in "the Term Paper Artist" or "Saturn Street" than when the main character is, presumably, a straight woman as in "the Wooden Anniversary".
In general though, I would warmly recommend you to have a look at some of Leavitt's works. If you like historical novels, the Indian Clerk is a definite winner.