Our Man in Montenegro…

Follow Tom’s amazing adventures in the poetic darklands of Montenegro as he tackles the complexities of literary life in the shadows of the recent conflicts… Tom Phillips Wednesday 22 June It’s not yet high season on the Croatian coast, but Dubrovnik Old Town is packed. The three of us – Mary, Peter and I – are on our way to Niksic in Montenegro for a conference on writing and place, but after an early morning flight from a rain-soaked Bristol we’re sneaking a holiday into half a day: seafood lunch, swim, ice-cream. Like the famous bridge in Mostar, much of the Old Town is a reconstruction: sections of neater stonework like scar tissue attest to the destruction wrought by artillery shells lobbed onto the city from the surrounding higher ground. By the breakwater in whose lee people swim, a man and three boys are heaving loose stones from under the city wall and tossing them into the sea. The earnestness with which they do this suggests that this isn’t merely a game; they too are engaged in some form of reconstruction. Nikola’s due to pick us up outside the West Gate in his dark-blue Audi. This is the most tenuous…

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