It is right in the city, mixes the new and the old, and in the summer it is always crowded: Vienna's MuseumsQuartier, a large cultural center with museums, exhibitions, and lots of events around film, dance, theater, architecture. The complex includes renovated baroque buildings, modern constructions, and much empty space for in between. It was opened in 2001 and quickly became one of the meeting points in Vienna. Many come here to educate themselves but most people just want to hang out, drink coffee, eat dinner. MuseumsQuartier is an urban spot, lively, international, young, inclusive.Vienna at its best.
Recently I stumbled upon Visions of Mary, a war story by Joseph Richardson. The book begins in a present day emergency room in Tennessee: A physician, a good guy who takes his work seriously, fights to establish the identity of a man who was found wandering about in a snow storm. The M.D.'s questions bring up memories of World War II in the disoriented patient. Thanks to the lost man's recollections we eventually learn that he is Colonel John Stone, an American war hero. The colonel tells the physician how he enlisted and became a pilot, how he married his sweetheart, Mary, and how he almost died when the Japanese shot down his plane, the "China Doll," in the last months of the war. After the attack, Stone and his men found themselves on a raft in the middle of a shark infested nowhere called the Pacific. Without food, water and radio connection their death seemed imminent. The men's fight for survival is where the book turns exciting: plunged into this crisis,