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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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You Say

  • Max: Henry, it seems a little odd to say that Proust and Kafka an
  • Mike: I agree with much of this discussion, though I'm not sure wh
  • S: This outpouring has been pretty wide-spread indeed. To be ho
  • Will: Salman rushdie is a microscopic crapule on the asshole of th
  • Henry: I think the fireworks may come from the fact that these auth
  • Paul: Vanessa Place's 'La Medusa' seems like an American authored
  • Lance: I agree with you about the state of American fiction and I b

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.


  • A Treatise on Shelling Beans by Wiesław Myśliwski March 9, 2014
    A man enters a house and asks to buy some beans, but we aren’t given his question, only the response: humble surprise from the narrator and an invitation inside. This modesty, though it remains at the core of the narrator throughout, is quickly overwhelmed when his questions, his welcoming explanations, flow into an effort to tell his whole life story, from […]
  • The Gorgeous Nothings by Emily Dickinson, edited by Marta Werner and Jen Bervin March 9, 2014
    The Gorgeous Nothings, the dedicated work of visual artist Jen Bervin and author Marta Werner, presents in large format the first full-color publication of all fifty-two of Emily Dickinson’s envelope writings. As such, it opens up an aspect of her craft that suggests she was, in the so-called late ecstatic period of her career, experimenting with creating te […]
  • The Mehlis Report by Rabee Jaber March 9, 2014
    The Mehlis Report follows the architect Saman Yarid on his daily perambulations around Lebanon's capital, where his memories of the city's past and his observations of the high-rises that have emerged from the ruins of the nation's civil war dominate the faint plot. But the book transcends Beirut: Jaber writes about what is left behind when pe […]
  • The Fiddler of Driskill Hill by David Middleton March 9, 2014
    Middleton’s sensibility as poet and man is thoroughly Christian, Southern (or rather, Louisianan), and traditional, but he’s no unreconstructed romantic Rebel reliving the Civil War. His manner is meditative and elegiac, not rancorous or redneck. In a rare useful blurb on the back of the book, the North Carolina poet and novelist Fred Chappell describes Midd […]
  • The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell March 9, 2014
    After The Kindly Ones, the nine hundred-page long Goncourt Prize-winning “autobiography” of a Nazi, fans of the Franco-American writer Jonathan Littell may heave an inward sigh of relief at the sight of The Fata Morgana Books. A slim collection of “studies” (as some of these stories were called in their original French incarnations), The Fata Morgana Books n […]
  • Novelty: A History of the New by Michael North March 9, 2014
    There is no better way to ensure the early demise of a form or a style than to proclaim its newness; fewer epithets are as old as “new.” A well-known work by Italian artist Maurizio Nannucci reads, “All art has been contemporary”—we may wish to amend it, for present purposes, and have it read, “All art has been new.” Yet surely this is something of a truism. […]
  • A Life Among Invented Characters: A Tribute to Mavis Gallant March 9, 2014
    Two things immediately come to mind when remembering Mavis Gallant: her unique sense of humor—stories always told with a wry half-smile—and her near-comical stonewalling when confronted with leading questions about her craft in interviews and with audiences. The first time I was in her simple three-room apartment on rue Jean Ferrandi, a mere three blocks fro […]
  • The Guy Davenport Reader March 9, 2014
    Poet-critic. Think of that word, made of two—what a beaux construction. The first is wild, hair mussed, looking at a bird in a tree—yet the follower is practical, urbane, and seemingly obeisant to word counts. Together they bleach out the fusspot academic and appeal to logos—Davenport once said that he was “not writing for scholars or critics, but for people […]
  • [SIC] by Davis Schneiderman March 9, 2014
    In 2011 Andrew Gallix, in the Guardian, wrote a piece on unread difficult books, and mentioned “an anthology of blank books [edited by Michael Gibbs] entitled All Or Nothing,” and we can consider Blank as continuing that line. Kenneth Goldsmith’s prefatory essay “Why Conceptual Writing? Why Now?” in Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (201 […]
  • The Ben Marcus Interview March 9, 2014
    I do tend to generate a lot of pages when I’m drafting something, and I cut as I go. I make strange noises out of my face, on the page, and they are for the most part not worth keeping. Some of the stories don’t take shape until I overwrite and pursue every cursed dead-end I can think of, which clarifies everything I don’t want the story to become. But I don […]

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.