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.

For low prices on Las Vegas shows visit LasVegas.ShowTickets.com

You Say

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 […]

36 Outstanding Novellas

A list of some of my favorite novellas:

Death in Venice — Thomas Mann
The Turn of the Screw — Henry James
The Metamorphosis — Kafka
Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad
The Invention of Morel — Adolfo Bioy Casares
The Crying of Lot 49 — Thomas Pynchon
The Dead — James Joyce
The Death of Ivan Ilyich — Leo Tolstoy
Things — Georges Perec
The Watcher — Italo Calvino
The Marquise of O — Heinrich von Kleist
Billy Budd, Sailor — Herman Melville
An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter — Cesar Aira
Train Dreams — Denis Johnson
Bonsai — Alejando Zambra
The Walk — Robert Walser
Chess Story — Stefan Zweig
The Lifted Veil — George Eliot
The Girl with the Golden Eyes — Honore de Balzac
The Lime Twig — John Hawkes

And I tossed the question out to Twitter:

@dgooblar
Seize the Day — Saul Bellow
The Ghost Writer — Philip Roth

@darrananderson1
Heart of a Dog — Mikhail Bulgakov
A Country Doctor’s Notebook — Mikhail Bulgakov

@AhabLives
Melanctha — Gertrude Stein
Pale Horse, Pale Rider — Katherine Anne Porter
First Love — Samuel Beckett

@cbhathco
The Old Forest — Peter Taylor
The Beggar Maid — Alice Munro

@biblioklept
Benito Cereno — Herman Melville
Hadji Murad — Leo Tolstoy
Chronicle of a Death Foretold — Gabriel García Márquez
The Bear — William Faulkner

@jhm001
@wpwend42
The Aspen Papers — Henry James

@kudera
Benito Cereno — Herman Melville

@svanneil
Notes from Underground — Fyodor Dostoevsky

@IneluctableQuak
Battles in The Desert — Jose Emilio Pacheco

Plus 2 more

@jsief
The Pilgrim Hawk — Glenway Wescott
The Letter Left to Me — Joseph McElroy

You Might Also Like:

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. From the Central Lavatory Review of Beckett’s Collected Poems: When Samuel Beckett was asked to write the libretto for a short opera in 1958, he managed to complete just...
  2. I Guess Paper Was in Short Supply? JC Hallman is blogging the highlights of the correspondence between William and Henry James in conjunction with a book he's writing about . . ....
  3. Frank on Oblomov Joseph Frank, who, unless this is some kind of rare-but-possible mix-up, is the biographer of Dostoevsky has written on the recent translation of the Russian...
  4. 4 Novellas, 4 Formats? This seems like an interesting project. Author Mike Heppner is publishing a series of four (thematically) linked novellas. Number 4 is available to you, reader,...
  5. Two New Novellas from Gabriel Josipovici The author of Goldberg: Variations (see our review if you’re not familiar) has just published two new novellas (via This Space). And here’s the...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

13 comments to 36 Outstanding Novellas

  • Birne

    Michael Kohlhaas, Heinrich von Kleist
    The Golden Pot, E.T.A. Hoffmann
    The Rider on the White Horse, Theodor Storm
    Lieutenant Gustl, Arthur Schnitzler
    Mario and the Magician, Thomas Mann
    Cat and Mouse, Gunter Grass

    A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
    Billy Budd, Herman Melville
    Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, R.L. Stevenson
    Animal Farm, George Orwell

    By Night in Chile, Roberto Bolano

  • DCN

    In addition to many already named:

    “The Shawl” and “The Messiah of Stockholm” by Cynthia Ozick
    “Death in Spring” by Merce Rodoreda
    “The Journey of Ibn Fattouma” by Naguib Mahfouz
    “The Vet’s Daughter” by Barbara Comyns
    “Hour of the Star” by Clarice Lispector

  • p.t.smith

    Dammit. Considering that I went to the bookstore last night specifically to buy novellas, I saw this a day late.

  • Chuck

    “The Duel” by Anton Chekhov should be added to the list. I’d also include “Rita Heyworth and The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Body” by Stephen King. While neither might be included in a list of classic literature, both showcase King at his finest, and served as source material for two excellent films (The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me.) “Bartleby The Scrivener” by Herman Melville should also be mentioned.

  • Bartleby the Scrivener will always be my number one. More recently: Customer Service by Benoit Duteurtre, Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos, and The Hall of the Singing Caryatids by Victor Pelevin. Top notch!

  • PStoakes

    Rock Crystal: Adelbert Stifter
    The Driver’s Seat: Muriel Spark
    A Beleaguered City : Margaret Oliphant

  • Eric

    Pelevin’s Omon Ra and Cesar Aira’s The Literary Conference are also excellent.

  • [...] Novellas (novellae?) to read. [via Conversational Reading] [...]

  • m. klausman

    mikhail zoschenko – before sunrise
    haniel long – interlinear to cabeza de vaca
    john fuller – flying to nowhere
    ivan olbracht – the sorrowful tears of hannah karajich
    julien gracq – king cophetua
    claudio magris – inferences from a saber
    pierre michon – the origin of the world
    jaimy gordon – circumspections from an equestrian statue
    yury tynanov – lieutenant kije/young vitushishnikov
    gerhard roth – the will to sickness
    arno schmidt – school for atheists
    jose donoso – hell has no limits
    alejo carpentier – the kingdom of this world
    jaime de angulo – the lariat
    james schuyler – alfred & guinevere
    nikolai leskov – musk ox
    tom pickard – guttersnipe
    ermilo abreu gomez – canek
    frigyes karinthy – voyage to faremido/capillaria

  • Michael Travis

    The Late Bourgeois World by Nadine Gordimer
    Party Going and Loving by Henry Green

  • david kelly-hedrick

    Legends of the Fall, The Woman Lit by Fireflies, Brown Dog, and Revenge by Jim Harrison

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>