In the workshop today, I mentioned the instance of Samoa proposing to change its position in relation to the international date line (story here). It seems to me a good little example to discuss the way time-zones work, their relation to space, arbitrary lines that have very real results, etc. In raising it I also mentioned Umberto Eco’s novel The Island of the Day Before, but no-one seemed to have read it so that didn’t really work. The island in that novel is both temporally and spatially unavailable, and one of the many sub-plots is the story of the accurate measurement of longitude, which is of course a means of measuring time to find out where you are in space.
Anyway, that particular literary reference not being known was not as surprising as only one other person in the room having watched The Wire… Maybe it’s the people I know, but I thought I was one of the last people to have finished watching it, which I did earlier this year. So that reference – about gang ‘territory’ – didn’t really work either.
Speaking of Eco, his latest novel The Prague Cemetery will be out in English later this year.