In the Wake of the Day is a book of memories and journeys; from the chaotic energy of urban life in modern Istanbul, where John Ash lives, to the ruins of vanished civilisations; from personal incident to the narratives and vacancies of cultures. Ash inhabits the fertile and ambiguous territory where East and West meet. We ‘know and do not know’ the past. In an ‘imperial city without empire, place of paradox’, time too becomes fluid. The ancient, half-imagined past of Ur, Alexandria, Cappadocia coexists with a contemporary world in which ‘tank tracks are driven over Babylon’.
At the centre of this collection are John Ash’s versions of poems by the great Alexandrian C.P. Cavafy. Working with Cavafy’s voice, Ash expresses his own urbane intelligence.