A nice review of George Anderson: Notes for a Love Song in Imperial Time.
It’s really nice to see this book continuing to be discussed months after its release. It should be read. A lot.
On the copyright page of Peter Dimock’s new novel, George Anderson: Notes for a Love Song in Imperial Time (Dalkey Archive), a curious set of subject headings appear:
1. Book Editors–Fiction. 2. Synesthesia–Fiction.
Such headings are rarely seen by themselves, and most certainly never together. So not only are Library of Congress staff reading the books they catalog with attentive care, but they’re . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Hard to out-Jameson Jameson.
In Post-Postmodernism, Nealon argues that culture has changed since Jameson’s 1980s, and that the economy has, too. He defines a new era: “intensification” marks us now, as “fragmentation” marked the earlier period. In this book, the repeated “post” in “Post-Postmodernism” signals that intensification. (Repetition may be intensifying but may also have other effects. I weary at the verbal drumbeat of “intense […] intensive […] intensities […] intensively” all in half a page on 26; or “intense […] intensified […] intensification […] intensities […] intensified […] intensification,” all on page 31.) Nealon’s attempt at rebranding . . . continue reading, and add your comments
An interview with longtime Beckett performer Rick Cluchey:
On 24 September 1977, Samuel Beckett wrote a letter to the American theatre director Alan Schneider. At the time, the playwright was in Berlin, busily rehearsing a production of Krapp’s Last Tape with the American actor Rick Cluchey: ‘Rick is an impressive Krapp’, Beckett confided. In future correspondence with Schneider, he would go on to convey similarly approving remarks. One comment in a letter from 1981 finds Beckett surmising: ‘Rick’s Krapp about right for me’. And, in another from 1982, he suggested that the actor’s strength derived from the ‘massive . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I get that there are larger forces (in part) at work here, but the fact still remains that under Sam Tanenhaus’s leadership the Times Book Review went from God’s-Almighty-Word-center-of-the-universe-of-book-criticism to a somewhat respected midfielder in a large pool of emerging and longstanding critical outlets. And yet, as I gather, Tanenhaus is still respected and no one seems terribly interested in asking what mistakes he may have made with the Review. This I do not understand.
And for what it’s worth, yes I know that the journalism was killed by blogs and all, but I don’t think the decline . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Back when Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction came out, by far my favorite story in that collection was Alvaro Enrigue’s “On the Death of the Author.”
There is, however, one story in Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction that does bear favorable comparison to Borges, or perhaps the more accurate reference is to the Spanish postmodernist Enrique Vila-Matas. There are elements of both to be found in the playful, portentously named “On the Death of the Author” by Alvaro Enrigue. Enrigue is such a talented writer that he manages to describe, from within his own story, exactly . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Over at The Paris Review, I interview Mia Couto on his new book, The Tuner of Silences. This is the last question:
To close things out, I wanted to ask about the origins of your name. I’ve read that it comes from your love of cats, as the Portuguese for meow is “miar.” Is this true?
Yes, that really is true. When I was two years old, all sorts of cats came to our veranda, where my mother fed them. My parents used to say that I didn’t just love cats, I thought I was one of . . . continue reading, and add your comments
This will be an interesting translation.
Bernofsky has apparently completed translating another old standard — Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (the title generally translated as, sigh, The Metamorphosis … (that word has an exact German equivalent — ‘Metamorphose’ — and if that’s what Kafka had meant, that’s the word he would have used …)).
Don’t miss your chance to be among the first to find out who takes home the BTBAs this year and party in the streets (literally) with Chad Post.
First, the specifics: The Best Translated Book Award Ceremony will take place at 5:30 at the Washington Mews. For those who haven’t been there, this is a private gated street just north of Washington Square Park between Fifth Ave. and University Place. It is here. . . .
Following this announcement, I believe there is supposed to be a party in the street thanks to the Germans and the French. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Was having a conversation about this the other day, about whether or not the cultural mainstreaming of asshole characters in TV and film had made unlikable protagonists more palatable in fiction. As little as 50 years ago, Wayne Booth made a reasonable and pretty convincing argument that without a sympathetic protagonist, a piece of fiction wasn’t going to work. Now we’re much more likely to accept protagonists that we can all more or less agree are morally repugnant people with nothing to redeem their awfulness. And we’re much more likely to see the rebuttal, “is this person . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Yes, it is as close to perfect as a novel can be. And yes, you should read it today. Do as the Dutch do.
“Why isn’t this book more famous?” asked the writer C.P. Snow about John Williams’s Stoner in 1973, eight years after it was first published by Viking Press. A straightforward yet brilliant novel about an ordinary Missouri English professor, it seems almost fitting that for nearly 40 years, Stoner was quietly revered by its fans without being widely read. But by 2013, approaching its 50th anniversary, the novel is seeing a somewhat surprising revival—and . . . continue reading, and add your comments