Somewhere there's a country you remember from your youth
On the surface of this country is the one they built on top of it
The highway leads to everything except for what they buried underneath it
+ they do also mourn, who do not wear black | sufjan stevens
Mourning steps and
And mourning never shows,
no mourning never slows.
+ so far around the bend | the national
Take a bath and get high through an apple
Wanted to cry but you can't when your laughing
Nobody knows where you are living
Nobody knows where you are
+ adventures in solitude | the new pornographers
These adventures in solitude never done
To the names of our wounds
We send the same blood back from the wars
It is six years after her brother has left the country and six years also since she has spoken to him, when Tara learns of his sudden and seemingly inexplicable death. The coroner appears to be claiming suicide but as any definitive conclusion has yet to be arrived at, she is sent to London to retrieve the body on what is her first ever trip away from the shores of the new country. But there is more than just a corpse waiting for her in Hampstead Heath; her brother's grieving widow, a slight pretty creature who talks about paintings with some warmth and all other things (including her recently deceased husband) with varying measures of indifference, a pack of never addressed letters in her brother's hand that hint at him being caught in something more nefarious than most ordinary newspaper men, a set of tight lipped colleagues who describe a man she doesn't think she knows and one unconvincing suicide note that Tara is determined to blow to pieces.
Their family was in the business of investigation. Tara buys a trench coat and book of British witticisms and sets about the business of investigating.
Be afraid of your parents, be afraid of their clever friends
I've read this book before and darling;
I can tell you how it ends
+ rox in the box | the decemberists
Get the rox in the box, get the water right down to your socks
This bulkhead's built of fallen brethren bones
We all do what we can, we endure our fellow man
And we sing our songs to the head frames creaks and moans
+ shut up (i am dreaming of places where lovers have wings) | sunset rubdown
I'll meet you where the river forks;
When everyone else is dead
You'll be safe on the water
We'll be much younger then we remember.
Haris Esmail and his sister are seven years and six years old respectively when the geography of the land they call home shifts beneath them and their family packs up the last of their crumbling newspaper empire to start afresh in this new country of the west where journalists face the tricky problem of not knowing which language to type in. They grow up amidst a war of tongues and watch their father and his ilk grow into an unsteady victory of this inherited land. In the courts and the streets, the war of languages governs the land; in the classrooms they are still taught in the words of the departing colonizers.
For three weeks when they are fifteen, he and his sister try to translate Marx into every provincial language they know and when they tire of it, they write their own manifesto, a muddied history of the human condition that philosophy scholars would have envied. This is where the Code begins; they write it in a language of their own creation, one fashioned from familiar sounds and peppered with sibling short hand from their childhood. Despite their exceptional grades and relatively stable behaviour, their father worries about his children who seem to have few friends outside of each other, preferring their own company and silent rooms and as time progresses and Haris shows no signs of turning into the cigar smoking, whiskey swilling, cricket player that Rehman expects his son to be, he ships him off to boarding school in Lahore to teach him to be a man.
Two years later, he returns (having been expelled for various charges ranging between public indecency and mild violence), the brawny conformist lad his father had wished for but he doesn't seem to have shaken off his worrying possessive tendencies regarding Tara as is revealed when he knocks out the man who is days away from becoming her husband.
This time, he is sent across the ocean and as they watch him leave at the docks, his mother predicts he will never return.
She is correct.
(Here, the first set of Haris Esmail's letters stop.)
I still owe money to the money to the money I owe
I never thought about love when I thought about home
I still owe money to the money to the money I owe
The floors are falling out from everybody I know
+ wedding song | anais mithcell
Lover, tell me if you can
Who's gonna buy the wedding bands?
Times being what they are
Hard and getting harder all the time
+ paper forest (in the afterglow of rapture) | emmy the great
Now you write because you love him, now you write because he's kind,
You write so much, you look up and you wrote yourself behind,
And you're standing in a labyrinth of paper and the map has been erased.
+ the peacock | beirut
We'd shoot him down
But then but then
Where should I begin, begin
He's the only one who knows the words
Sabrina Valentine came to London the same year that the wall came to Berlin. As a lady of some means and much interest and expertise in the area, she was able to successfully set up an art gallery and due to an extraordinary bit of luck, she was breaking even within the year and the visits from her mysterious older brother, Mickey staggered out over longer intervals and her American twang was loosening its grip on her speech at a faster rate than anyone else could expect. By the time, her next autumn in the city came around it was almost entirely gone.
This was also when she met Harry E. who described himself as a man of letters or more accurately, he corrected, a newspaper man, which made her think of a house built entirely out of paper and ink, an image that composed itself in her head as a thrilling surrealist piece in oils that she could place above the bed in her new apartment, the same bed that Harry E. accompanied her to that evening.
They were married by the spring, the surprising result of a surprising courtship, moving into a terrace house that was halfway between her gallery and his office. They read in the evenings and they did not have a television.
There were two desks in their study, on either side of the windows and on days off, they were usually to be found there, writing letters; Sabrina drank tea and her husband coffee and as the hours changed their drinks grew stronger and the pile of ink covered pages beside them grews.
Harry filed his and Sabrina burned hers.
They were married for three years and then, he was dead.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE: the extras
nikolaj coster-waldua - mikhail valentin
anna mouglalis - marya demidov
tahar rahim - jalal rahim
jj feild - john wolf
ruth negga - sadie addams
holliday grainger - genevieve grant
alexander siddig - rahat esmail
indira varma - mariam esmail