The Orientalist


I am currently reading ” The Orientalist” by Tom Reiss


A marvelous biography about the flamboyant Lev Nussimbaum


So often when I am reading, a certain passage will resonate so strongly that I make note of it in my journals

The life of Lev is riveting as he mixes memory with desire, straddles the chasm between east and west and becomes Jew, Christian and Muslim…

You see Lev was born in October, 1905, in Baku, Azerbaijan

…but enough, here is the passage that I so wanted to share with you…


“….over the great arched portal ran the secret arabesque symbols of a vanished past.

Mighty, incomprehensible letters and delicate ornaments.


I looked at them for hours, during which I would fall into a sort of dreamy, trance like meditation.

It was a state of true bliss that lasted for hours and hours.

After I returned home I changed back into my lazy, sickly, good-for-nothing self…”




13 responses »

  1. A quote worthy of your journal, Tin Man. I am ordering the book into our library so if it comes in good time I will be reading it along with you. I also keep a journal (strictly for books I am reading) and write passages that have stirred my heart. I love the opening sentences in books. The best tell a story in a few words. “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” Karen Blixen takes me away and out of myself. I think The Orientalist will do the same. XXOO V.

  2. I do that too,make notes of certain passages or lines and write them in my journals then revisit them when the moment or the situation is perfectly expressed by them. Sometimes they are a thought , others they are a beautiful captivating description and yet in others they feel like a window into the personality of someone..
    Loved the passage you chose

  3. You have tempted us to follow you and Lev through that arched portal to secrets beyond. I must seek this book out. I love biographies as one learns about the person and the times they lived in. Thank you for sharing thoughts from your heart, Tin Man!

    • Your reply alone is a memorable quote……..”to follow you and Lev through that arched portal to secrets beyond……….” I so suggest the book. I am reading it very slowly to savor each moment of this turbulent time and how Lev adapts to survive…….it is wonderful!

  4. I am now following Lev and you through that portal as I found the book at a recent library book sale. What mystery? Who wrote what? Yes, it is wonderful! The history seems somehow relevant to day. And I never thought about oil barons in that area.

    Enjoy your travels, Tin Man, as we miss you…there’s no place like home. Be safe!

    • Oh my Dearest Crone!!! How lovely to hear from you! So glad you found the book! We are currently in Malta (seventh day here) have been to Portugal, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, from top to bottom, tomorrow off to Sicily! Our travels have been filled with adventure and so much delight!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s