The End of Oulipo?

The End of Oulipo? My book (co-authored with Lauren Elkin), published by Zero Books. Available everywhere. Order it from Amazon, or find it in bookstores nationwide. The End of Oulipo

Lady Chatterley’s Brother

Lady Chatterley's Brother. The first ebook in the new TQC Long Essays series, Lady Chatterley's Brothercalled “an exciting new project” by Chad Post of Open Letter and Three Percent. Why can't Nicholson Baker write about sex? And why can Javier Marias? We investigate why porn is a dead end, and why seduction paves the way for the sex writing of the future. Read an excerpt.

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and direct from this site:


Translate This Book!

Ever wonder what English is missing? Called "a fascinating Life Perecread" by The New Yorker, Translate This Book! brings together over 40 of the top translators, publishers, and authors to tell us what books need to be published in English. Get it on Kindle.

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Group Reads

The Tunnel

Fall Read: The Tunnel by William H. Gass

A group read of the book that either "engenders awe and despair" or "[goads] the reader with obscenity and bigotry," or both. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Naked Singularity

Summer Read: A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

Fans of Gaddis, Pynchon, DeLillo: A group read of the book that went from Xlibris to the University of Chicago Press. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Life Perec

Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec

Starting March 2011, read the greatest novel from an experimental master. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Last Samurai

Fall Read: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

A group read of one of the '00s most-lauded postmodern novels. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Tale of Genji

The Summer of Genji

Two great online lit magazines team up to read a mammoth court drama, the world's first novel.

Your Face Tomorrow

Your Face This Spring

A 3-month read of Javier Marias' mammoth book Your Face Tomorrow

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Ten Memorable Quotes from William Gaddis’ Letters

New Books
Here are ten of my favorite moments from these hugely interesting letters.


Interviews from Conversational Reading

New Books
See this page for interviews with leading authors, translators, publishers, and more.


  • Nostalgia June 15, 2014
    Few habits are as prone to affliction, or as vulnerable to an ordeal, as the bent of a peddler’s consciousness. Placeless, the peddler completes an untold number of transactions; there are ideas to conduct (through language, which can transact a mind) and feelings to certify (through tasks, repeated interminably). […]
  • Why Literary Periods Mattered by Ted Underwood June 15, 2014
    There are some writers who are, and likely always will be, inextricably linked to the “period” with which their work is associated, and in many cases helped to define. Surely Wordsworth and Keats will always be “Romantic” poets, while Faulkner and Woolf will remain modernists, as the term “modern” has been fully appropriated to describe the historical era be […]
  • Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz June 15, 2014
    August 1939. You sail to Buenos Aires on the Chombry as a cultural ambassador of Poland. Why say no to a little holiday on the government’s tab? Soon after arriving you sense that something isn’t right. You emerge from a welcome reception and your ears are “filled with newspaper cries: ‘Polonia, Polonia,’ most irksome indeed.” Before you’ve even had a chance […]
  • Accepting the Disaster by Joshua Mehigan June 15, 2014
    The first collections of most young poets, even the better ones, carry with them a hint of bravado. Flush with recognition, vindicated by the encouraging attentions of at least one editor and three blurbists, the poet strikes a triumphant pose and high-fives the Muse: “We did it, baby.” When Joshua Mehigan published his impressive first collection, The Optim […]
  • The Histories of Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland June 15, 2014
    Two of the greatest of Tom Holland's predecessors in translating Herodotus are Victorian scholar George Rawlinson and Aubrey de Selincourt; the former translated Herodotus in 1860, making an enormous hit (despite the fact that its detractors often referred to it as “dull and prolix"), while the latter's 1954 Herodotus was another enormous hit, […]
  • Bullfight by Yasushi Inoue June 15, 2014
    The premise of Yasushi Inoue's debut novella Bullfight, celebrated in Japan as a classic of postwar literature, is unassuming enough: an evening newspaper sponsors a tournament of the regional sport of bull-sumo. As practical and financial issues arise, the paper's young editor-in-chief, Tsugami, soon realizes he has taken on more than he can handl […]
  • Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones June 15, 2014
    Sworn Virgin was made to be translated. Elvira Dones wrote this book not in her native language of Albanian but in Italian—a necessarily fraught and complicated decision. In an Italian-language interview with Pierre Lepori, Dones speaks about her choice of language: “Sworn Virgin was born in Italian . . . I’ve lived using Italian for nineteen years, it has s […]
  • On the Letters of David Markson June 15, 2014
    Knowing these narrators and how their lives paralleled David’s own, it’s difficult to deny his being a recluse. I certainly held that image of him, and nursed it, secretly cherishing it because it meant I was one of the few people with whom he corresponded, and with whom he would occasionally meet. Arranging our first meetings in person was something of a ni […]
  • Storm Still by Peter Handke June 15, 2014
    Storm Still (Immer Noch Sturm) does not necessarily represent new terrain for Handke. Originally published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 2010 and now available for English-language readers thanks to Martin Chalmers’ fluent translation, the play chronicles the dissolution of the Svinec family, a family of Carinthian Slovenes—a quasi-fictionalized version of Handke’s […]
  • Red or Dead by David Peace June 15, 2014
    David Peace's novel Red or Dead is about British football, but it partakes in the traits of Homer's epic. This is a novel about the place of myth and heroes in modern society, about how the cyclical rhythms of athletic seasons reflect the cyclical patterns of life. It is a book about honor and fate, and one which bridges the profound, dreamlike ter […]

Away for New Year’s

See you all in 2010.

This should keep you busy till at least 2011.

Christmas Gifts

So Here’s my haul this year:

The Book Of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa Diary of a Bad Year by JM Coetzee Practicing New Historicism, eds. Cathernie Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt The Culture Industry by Theodor Adorno The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda by Andrew Rice Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places by Paul Collier You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katharine Harmon

And hopefuls for future gifting. If you’d like to give me one, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Pim & Francie Review at The Quarterly Conversation

Pim & Francie, one of the strangest books we’ve reviewed in a while, courtesy of Scott Bryan Wilson. Here’s a taste of the review:

Adding to the confusion are sequences that seem like they’re from something longer but are taken out of that context and stuck in the middle of the book. For instance, Pim and Francie, having dismembered some sort of animal (i.e., taken off his arms, legs, and penis), tease him that they’ll let him go on one condition, but we never see any event preceding this two-page sequence, nor anything after it. Additionally, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Tests of Time

Ron Silliman:

Some poets have chosen to embrace the new with everything from flarf to technology-based visual poetries. Others have decided that the “timeless” values of tradition will outlast even this. They recall and sometimes reiterate the archaeologist’s maxim that ultimately hard copy is truth. If you can’t dig it up in 5,000 years, did it ever exist? Ian Hamilton Finlay, with his stone-carved minimal texts, may outlast us all.

El fondo del cielo Review

Moleskine Literario posts a review of El fondo del cielo by Rodrigo Fresan. Cielo, you might recall, was Enrique Vila-Matas’ recommendation from The Quarterly Conversation’s Translate This Book! roundtable.

It does sound interesting:

Entre la imposibilidad de verse a uno mismo fuera del Universo, y la necesidad imperiosa de ver un planeta distinto al nuestro, se forma esta novela que según el autor “quizá no sea la novela de amor más grande pero sí –seguro- la más larga” pues alcanza desde el estallido del Big Bang hasta el final de la Era de Las . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Forthcoming Titles from Open Letter

Chad unveils Open Letter’s titles for summer 2010.

Some excellent stuff here. I very enthusiastically reviewed Quim Monzo’s The Enormity of the Tragedy for the Philly Inquirer two years ago, so I’m thrilled to see Open Letter will be bringing out his novel Gasoline.

Also on the list is A Thousand Peaceful Cities by Jerzy Pilch, which we excerpted and discussed at The Quarterly Conversation. And I’m thrilled to see The Private Lives of Trees by Alejandro Zambra since we very much liked his novella Bonsai (am I noting a tree theme . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Stoner!

I've been on a bit of a Stoner crusade since I read this book back in October. It really is that good, and given that it was out of print for a good 30 years until NYRB published their edition in 2006, I figured it must be fairly overlooked.

Well, looks like it may not be quite as overlooked . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer

For a while now I’ve cast a curious eye at my galley of Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer. There’s the obligatory Kafka reference on the back copy, there’s the rave from Thomas Mann, it’s from Archipelago books (always a positive sign), and the title just sounds interesting. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I have a mile-long stack of books compared to classic authors, praised by titans, put out by great publishers, and screaming for my attention. So, in other words, I haven’t really had that last push to take it down from the shelf.

Well, it might have just come. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Books!

So, what'd you get today, and what'd you give to your book-loving friends?

Books to Read in 2010

Apropos of my Books to Watch for in 2010 post from last week, I’ve been receiving further suggestions (and finding more of my own picks). So I’ve updated the original list and will keep updating it as more suggestions roll in.