“Semiliterate Gluttons” (the name of my next bookclub) – Notes on Anthony Marra: Story 3: The Grozny Tourist Bureau, Grozny, 2003

Notes and quotes, mostly quotes from Anthony Marra’s book The Tsar of Love and Techno.

  • Here we meet Galina’s rich husband.
  • “I spent the first morning writing Tourist Bureau on a piece of cardboard…. I taped the sign to the front door, but within five minutes it had disappeared…. After the fifth sign, I went to the kitchen and drank the vodka bottle the minister had sent over in celebration until I passed out in tears on the floor. So ended my first day as Tourist Bureau chief.”
  • “Over the following weeks, I designed a brochure. The central question was how to trick tourists into coming to Grozny voluntarily. For inspiration, I studied pamphlets from the tourist bureaus of other urban hellscapes: Baghdad, Pyongyang, Houston. From them I learned to be lavishly adjectival, to treat prospective tourists as semiliterate gluttons, and to impute reports of kidnapping, slavery, and terrorism to the slander of foreign provocateurs.” p 91-92 worth reading aloud, gets really funny.
  • Nayda the neighbor and former co-worker sees the censorship artist’s brother in censored paintings and it was for her dissertation.
  • “… she says she will move to Sweden. I fear for her future in a country whose citizenry is forced to assemble its own furniture.”
  • his wife and child in the famous painted field. landmines.
  • “If you want to be a martyr go join them in the woods.”
  • He takes businessmen tourists to his little house museum. “This is what remains, the charred canvases cry. You cannot burn ash! You cannot raze rubble! …I give myself a long overdue promotion. No longer am I deputy. As of today, I am director of the Grozny Museum of Regional Art.”
  • “Let’s give the thirteenth richest man in Russia an intestinal parasite!”
  • “The office doors of dead administrators clatter beneath us….” he is with Galina in this scene.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.