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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

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  • 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
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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.


  • 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 […]

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Scott Esposito

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Scott Esposito, who edits The Quarterly Conversation.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

The Plains and A History of Books by Gerald Murnane

I read these in preparation for an essay I wrote on Murnane for the journal Music & Literature (in itself a favorite read). The short novel The Plains is the book many consider to be Murnane’s finest. For me, he’s all about making maps of memory out of words, and The Plains may . . . continue reading, and add your comments

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Patrick Kurp

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Patrick Kurp, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly Conversation is a review of Uncollected Poems by R.S. Thomas.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

David Yezzi: Birds of the Air (Carnegie Mellon University Press)

Just when you thought poetry was as moribund as Linear B, Yezzi reminds us of the virtues readers once expected of poems and poets: narrative, formal mastery, linguistic energy and wit. His blank-verse monologues are short stories in an age when that . . . continue reading, and add your comments

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Daniel Medin

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Daniel Medin, who is Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

1. Dodge Rose by Jack Cox (forthcoming, Dalkey Archive)

The most singular work of fiction written in English that I encountered this year. Difficult to summarize what it does in so little space, though in addition to being a Great Australian Novel–in less than 200 pages–Dodge Rose is a funny and profound take on the legal language of property and ownership. For a . . . continue reading, and add your comments

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Jacob Silverman

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Jacob Silverman, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly Conversation is a review of Futility by William Gerhardie.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

1) “Bough Down” by Karen Green

The first book by artist Karen Green, who is the widow of David Foster Wallace, took me by surprise. Not because this book of prose poems and small collages is so finely written, but rather because Green manages to talk about what is on everyone’s mind — . . . continue reading, and add your comments

It Never Ends

If you’re enjoying the year-end listing, be aware that we will also be doing some New Year’s listing with favorite reads from a bunch of literary magazine from around the world. Starting, well, early, early, early next year.

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: John Domini

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from John Domini, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly Conversation is a review of Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

Ten, Anyway: reluctant but heartfelt, a list of a year’s good, obscure reading for The Quarterly Conversation

Lists are odious, brainless, even cruel—and also handy, irresistible, only natural. The depth and insight of actual criticism has always meant more to me than any Top Ten. I can’t deny, however, that even Walter Benjamin celebrated . . . continue reading, and add your comments

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Geoff Wisner

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Geoff Wisner, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly Conversation is a review of Forest of a Thousand Daemons by D.O. Fagunwa.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

Early in 2013 I landed a new day job with an engineering company based in New Jersey. My two-hour megacommute gave me more time for reading, beginning with several books by Henry Petroski, the John McPhee of engineering. (In books like The Control of Nature, of course, John McPhee is . . . continue reading, and add your comments

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Taylor Davis-Van Atta

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Taylor Davis-Van Atta, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly Conversation is an essay on the fiction of Stig Sæterbakken.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

1. Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet

A novel in 17 episodes, Seiobo There Below explores our insatiable desire to be loved, to achieve transcendence through any means, and to glimpse, however fleetingly, the sacred—and why we continually fail in our attempts to attain . . . continue reading, and add your comments

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Madeleine LaRue

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Madeleine LaRue, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly Conversation is an essay on the fiction of Jáchym Topol.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

Red Doc> by Anne Carson (Knopf)

I did practically nothing (or wanted to do practically nothing) between January and April but read Anne Carson. Red Doc>, the sequel to her much-loved Autobiography of Red, is one of her strangest, most enigmatic, and most haunting works. Even after dozens of re-readings, it . . . continue reading, and add your comments

TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Andrew Seal

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Andrew Seal, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly Conversation is an essay on Franco Moretti.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

One novel I read this year could have given its title as a theme to nearly all my reading: Nadine Gordimer’s The Late Bourgeois World. This short novel, disquieted yet limpid, is Mrs. Dalloway set on the fringe of an anti-apartheid resistance cell, and like Woolf’s creation it balances a probing intelligence with a . . . continue reading, and add your comments