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

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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.


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  • Noir and Nihilism in True Detective December 15, 2014
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  • The Colonel’s World December 15, 2014
    Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (born 1940) is considered by many the living Iranian novelist, a perennial Nobel Prize candidate. Dowlatabadi wrote The Colonel some thirty years ago, because in his own words he had been “afflicted.” The subject forced him to sit at the desk and write nonstop for two years. “Writing The Colonel I felt a strong sense of indignation and pa […]
  • Mr Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn by Alessandro Baricco December 15, 2014
    Alessandro Baricco’s well-crafted, elegant prose seems as though it should create the impression of distance, or of abstraction; instead, the reader of Mr. Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn becomes wholly implicated and immersed, drawn into a dreamy and idiosyncratic world that blurs the division between reader, character and writer. As readers, we expect that th […]
  • The Walls of Delhi by Uday Prakash December 15, 2014
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  • The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation December 15, 2014
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  • Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli December 15, 2014
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A Horrified And Sympathetic Response To Michael Haneke’s The Seventh Continent

So I’ve got a little something in the latest issue of Drunken Boat.

If you’ll indulge me in some meta commentary, the origin of this essay is a little interesting (at least to me). I’m a fan of Michael Haneke’s films, and eventually I got to his film The Seventh Continent. This was Haneke’s first movie, and it bears a lot of the marks of the long career in theater that preceded his becoming a director, so maybe this helps account for the fact that this thing got to me like nothing of Haneke’s I’d ever seen. And I’d pretty much seen the infamously grotesque ones at that point.

Short story: I could not get this movie out of my head. It haunted me, and I use that very advisedly—I hate how overused that word is, and I pretty much never use it, but in this case it really did haunt me. For a while there I would be talking to someone and break out in one of these breathless, incoherent explanations of how much of an amazing experience this film had been for me, all without giving away the plot details that had blown me away as I watched the movie.

So eventually I realized, I should just write this out. After a feverish 2 hours I had the bones of an essay. I put a lot of work into revising it thereafter, but whenever I worked on this piece I always tried to maintain the heat of those initial two hours, when it felt like I was just along for a really fast and bumpy ride.

This essay also was the beginning of a project that is ongoing—a series of such essays, all built around a single movie that proved to me a similarly overwhelming experience.

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1 comment to A Horrified And Sympathetic Response To Michael Haneke’s The Seventh Continent

  • j.s.

    I remember the first time I saw this film, which was also my first experience with Haneke. It was on a now out-of-print VHS tape I rented from Vidiots in Santa Monica. The title and mysterious cover intrigued me, as did a blurb from Jonathan Rosenbaum. When I took it up to the counter, the clerk told me I had made a mistake, that I really didn’t want to see the film because it would ruin my day, if not my week or maybe my life. Of course, that only made me want to see it more.

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