Migratory Birds by Mariana Oliver (tr. Julia Sanches)

a nutshell: meditating on movement – both through places and time – this is a debut collection by a Mexican essayist, often with a lens on Berlin (where she lives)

a line: “fear is more contagious and lethal than any virus or bacteria”

an image: in the titular essay (the piece I enjoyed most) Oliver describes Bill Lishman’s flight to assist the migration of whooping cranes, describing the birds as charcoal strokes across the sky

a thought: in ‘Cassandra’, Oliver writes that Christa Wolf knew wars begin with language – feels like an apt observation amid the current preoccupation with ‘culture wars’ in corners of UK society

a fact: Oliver wrote that in the German language, ‘ss’ in the spelling of certain words e.g. Strasse, was replaced with an Eszett ‘ß’, e.g. Straße, to avoid painful associations with the Nazi regime, but I couldn’t verify this on googling!

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