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“The colours of the map rose up at him out of the pool of lamplight: the lucent blue of the Halcyonic Gulf; the sand-shades of the littoral, deepening in tone as the mountains rose behind the sea; winding yellow roads, and everywhere churches, and the little broken pillars marking ancient sites. He traced a route along the shore with the tip of his finger: here, Theseus killed the robber Sinis, stretching him between two pine trees. Following the coast road, Briggana would have passed ruined shrines to Hermes, and Aphrodite, Isis and Serapis; near Corinth, in a grove of cypresses, the grave of the beautiful courtesan Lais – more glittering than the clear spring-water. He pictured the layers and veils Briggana must have pushed through in her mind, through the hallucinatory uproar of the cicadas, watching her feet scuffing the dusty road: the heat, the painted shrines, the perfumed oil. Below the burning surface her consciousness moved like a salmon in the cool swaying of the river, among waterweeds and the pale eidola of hounds and maidens.”


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