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

Shop though these links = Support this site


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 Legacy by Sybille Bedford March 15, 2015
    Sybille Bedford had the benefit—or bad fortune, however you see it—of being born into the German aristocracy in 1911. Her father was a retired lieutenant colonel and art collector from the agrarian south, from a Roman Catholic family in fiscal decline. Her mother came from a wealthy German-Jewish family from Hamburg. A widower from his first marriage, Bedfor […]
  • Reviving Antal Szerb March 15, 2015
    Antal Szerb’s lithe, lively, and wholly endearing fiction is peopled by male dreamers on spiritual journeys of self-discovery. Each one sets out on his respective mini-mission with good intentions but knows from the outset that there are only so many harsh truths he can withstand. In this respect, all Szerb’s protagonists seem to have heeded the advice of Gr […]
  • 39 Africans Walk into a Bar March 15, 2015
    New anthologies of African fiction seem to materialize virtually every year, if not more often in recent years. When presented with the physical fact of yet another new anthology of African fiction, the immediate question, one which I was asked when I pressed the warm, bound pages of the Africa39 anthology into the even warmer hands of a new acquaintance, wa […]
  • The Country Road by Regina Ullmann March 15, 2015
    This collection of short stories, her first to appear in English, counters material poverty with a fulfilling and deeply spiritual relationship with the natural world. Ullmann herself was no stranger to hardship. A depressive, she was plagued by personal and professional crises. Financial constraints forced her to send her illegitimate children to the countr […]
  • The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura March 14, 2015
    The Fall of Language in the Age of English stirred up debate upon its publication in Japan in 2008, and it’s possible it will do so in the U.S. with its arrival in Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter's translation. In their introduction, Yoshihara and Winters Carpenter, point out that Japanese reviewers accused Mizumura of being a jingoist, an e […]
  • Another View: Tracing the Foreign in Literary Translation by Eduard Stoklosinski March 14, 2015
    Another View demonstrates exciting potential in translation study and praxis. It is especially significant in deconstructing assumptions about fluency and linguistic identity. The author makes some persuasive arguments for considering and even preferring non-native translation of texts, the most controversial of which is the possibility that linguistic compe […]
  • The Latest Five from Dalkey Archive’s “Library of Korea” Series March 14, 2015
    Despite South Korea having the kind of vibrant literary scene you'd expect from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, we're still not exactly inundated with English translations of South Korean fiction. Given this dearth, Dalkey Archive Press's Library of Korean Literature series, twenty five titles published in collab […]
  • B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman March 14, 2015
    here’s a conspicuous history of books that simply should not work: Books like U & I by Nicholson Baker, a book-length exercise in “memory criticism,” where Baker traces Updike’s influence on his own writing life while studiously not actually re-reading any of Updike’s books. Or books like Out of Sheer Rage, Geoff Dyer’s book that procrastinates away from […]
  • The Valerie Miles Interview March 14, 2015
    The idea was to uncover the secret life of these texts, why do their creators consider them their best work? What’s the clandestine, the underground, the surreptitious meaning or attachment? Where’s the kernel, the seed from which a body of work grew, what the driving obsession? Is it something sentimental, something technical, maybe even something spiritual […]
  • On Being Blue by William H. Gass March 14, 2015
    Look up at the sky, or down into the ocean, and what color do you see? We see blue, but not Homer—he never once employs the term throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey, famously calling the sea "wine-dark" and the heavens "bronze." Neither did the Greek philosopher Xenophanes say blue—he described the rainbow as having only three colors. Th […]

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