Wondrous White


In this month’s post, in the wake of a global pandemic, instead of celebrating May Day with the usual carefree flowers, I’m simulataneously recommending two versions of a story that even includes the icy wonder of snow.  The first is the very Russian story written in 1848 by a young Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  The second is the 1957 Italian film Le Notti Bianche directed by the legendary neorealist Luchino Visconti.  Both are named for the peculiarly light skies that occur from May through July in the far-northern city of St. Petersburg:  White Nights.

Both deal with something those of us who’ve dealt with coronavirus-prompted quarantine can relate to:  loneliness and isolation.

Dostoyevsky’s protagonist may be lonely, but is at least free to wander the streets, charming as he imagines himself communing and commiserating with even its buildings:  “‘They are painting me yellow!’  The villains!  The barbarians!  They…spared nothing, neither columns, nor cornices…”

Visconti’s protagonist, played by the equally legendary Marcello Mastroianni, spends his nights wandering endlessly through a phantasmagorically neoromantic snarl of streets, yearning for a love he constantly touches but can never have.

The Dostoyevsky is available for free on Kindle.  The Visconti should be streamable.

Must Read

You May Also Like


Boomers for the Stars, latest news

Every year lately, my publishing credits have consisted of one sci fi novella.  For 2017 it was Boomers for the Stars.  Since it’s on the reading list for a Nebula award, I’ve made a free audiobook version available for the convenience of those who will vote.  But, at least for…
Read More


For those of you curious about where I got the inspiration for my most recent book, Rococo, here’s the flash fiction from whence it came…on one of the many days in which I found myself thoroughly disgusted by self-help books. Toeing an anti-depressant wrapper, she loitered at the western edge…
Read More
Barnett Berger

Barnett Berger: No Two Snowflakes

The poem below is by Barnett Berger. No Two Snowflakes No two snowflakes are alike No object from sky to earth Could possibly be identical We don’t know the sky’s influence in formation We don’t know the objects encountered on the downward ride And we don’t know the impact on…
Read More

Check out my newly released sci fi novella, Ships!

SHIPS:  Yet another sci fi novella I had a lot of fun writing, though this one’s a bit of a “soft” sci fi…slipstream, as they call it…with large parts set in present time and ordinary circumstances that are equally accessible to non-sci-fi readers.  (Still, along with my usual snarky/politically incorrect…
Read More