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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  • The Atlantic on Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of PilgrimageThe Atlantic on Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

    This is the first review I've read of the new Murakami book. My feeling is that Nathaniel Rich, representing The Atlantic's... »
  • Bae Suah on SebaldBae Suah on Sebald

    Bae Suah is one of the more astonishing authors I've discovered lately. So when I saw that an essays of hers on Sebald had been... »
  • The Old School QCThe Old School QC

    Thanks to Michael Orthofer for this blast from the past. In his look back through the days of yore for various literary... »
  • Wallace MarginaliaWallace Marginalia

    The writing on this is horrifyingly bad, but there is some interesting information here about the things David Foster Wallace... »
  • All Hail AugustusAll Hail Augustus

    Daniel Mendelsohn's introduction to the NYRB Classics' reissue of Augustus is now available online as part of the Aug 14 issue... »
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    I don't expect The New York Times to have mastered the minutia of every single topic on earth, but it would be nice if the... »
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    A nice review at Music & Literature of the latest book from Gerald Murnane, A Million Windows. For those of you who have been... »
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    Writer Pierre Ryckmans, aka Simon Leys, died earlier this week. So, perhaps the kind memorial messages that are appearing will... »
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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.


  • Nostalgia June 15, 2014
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  • Why Literary Periods Mattered by Ted Underwood June 15, 2014
    There are some writers who are, and likely always will be, inextricably linked to the “period” with which their work is associated, and in many cases helped to define. Surely Wordsworth and Keats will always be “Romantic” poets, while Faulkner and Woolf will remain modernists, as the term “modern” has been fully appropriated to describe the historical era be […]
  • Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz June 15, 2014
    August 1939. You sail to Buenos Aires on the Chombry as a cultural ambassador of Poland. Why say no to a little holiday on the government’s tab? Soon after arriving you sense that something isn’t right. You emerge from a welcome reception and your ears are “filled with newspaper cries: ‘Polonia, Polonia,’ most irksome indeed.” Before you’ve even had a chance […]
  • Accepting the Disaster by Joshua Mehigan June 15, 2014
    The first collections of most young poets, even the better ones, carry with them a hint of bravado. Flush with recognition, vindicated by the encouraging attentions of at least one editor and three blurbists, the poet strikes a triumphant pose and high-fives the Muse: “We did it, baby.” When Joshua Mehigan published his impressive first collection, The Optim […]
  • The Histories of Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland June 15, 2014
    Two of the greatest of Tom Holland's predecessors in translating Herodotus are Victorian scholar George Rawlinson and Aubrey de Selincourt; the former translated Herodotus in 1860, making an enormous hit (despite the fact that its detractors often referred to it as “dull and prolix"), while the latter's 1954 Herodotus was another enormous hit, […]
  • Bullfight by Yasushi Inoue June 15, 2014
    The premise of Yasushi Inoue's debut novella Bullfight, celebrated in Japan as a classic of postwar literature, is unassuming enough: an evening newspaper sponsors a tournament of the regional sport of bull-sumo. As practical and financial issues arise, the paper's young editor-in-chief, Tsugami, soon realizes he has taken on more than he can handl […]
  • Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones June 15, 2014
    Sworn Virgin was made to be translated. Elvira Dones wrote this book not in her native language of Albanian but in Italian—a necessarily fraught and complicated decision. In an Italian-language interview with Pierre Lepori, Dones speaks about her choice of language: “Sworn Virgin was born in Italian . . . I’ve lived using Italian for nineteen years, it has s […]
  • On the Letters of David Markson June 15, 2014
    Knowing these narrators and how their lives paralleled David’s own, it’s difficult to deny his being a recluse. I certainly held that image of him, and nursed it, secretly cherishing it because it meant I was one of the few people with whom he corresponded, and with whom he would occasionally meet. Arranging our first meetings in person was something of a ni […]
  • Storm Still by Peter Handke June 15, 2014
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  • Red or Dead by David Peace June 15, 2014
    David Peace's novel Red or Dead is about British football, but it partakes in the traits of Homer's epic. This is a novel about the place of myth and heroes in modern society, about how the cyclical rhythms of athletic seasons reflect the cyclical patterns of life. It is a book about honor and fate, and one which bridges the profound, dreamlike ter […]

1Q84 Cover Unveiled

1Q84

As you can see above, Knopf has unveiled the cover of Haruki Murakami’s forthcoming, massive novel, 1Q84. It’s quite a pretty cover. To mark the occasion, Knopf’s blog has an informative conversation with uber-designer Chip Kidd on how he built the cover . . . continue reading, and add your comments

1Q84 Street Date

If you’re one of the Murakami people out there, Amazon now lists 1Q84 for Oct 25 (though sans cover). . . . continue reading, and add your comments

1Q84: English-language Publication To Start in Sept 2011

Scooped up by Knopf, as expected. Interestingly, the article only mentions the first 3 volumes, and as we all now know there'll be more, but I'd doubt that the rest wouldn't go to Vintage/Knopf as well.

Also interestingly, English-language readers will have to buy this one in at least two separate volumes. Murakami-lovers will recall that, though The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was similarly published in a serial format in Japan, U.S. readers got it all in one lump sum. Not this time:

Harvill Secker and Vintage are delighted to have acquired an ambitious trilogy from the . . . continue reading, and add your comments

More 1Q84 to Come

Didn’t realize there was a third volume in the works:

Shinchosha Publishing Co. put up posters Monday in 25 stations in the greater Tokyo area advertising a third volume in Haruki Murakami’s best-selling novel “1Q84.” Murakami is currently working on the story, aiming for a release next summer, sources said. Sales of the first and second volumes, which hit the market in late May, have sold more than 2.2 million copies in all. The ads, posted in stations including Tokyo and Yokohama, say, “We will continue receiving invaluable things from the story.”

Lengthy Review of Murakami’s 1Q84

Another review of 1Q84, rather substantial.

I can’t remember the last time a foreign-language book was covered as thoroughly in English upon publication as 1Q84. We’ve already seen The Guardian report on it, this long review, and Murakami discussing it in a recent interview.

From the most recent review:

To a certain extent, 1Q84 is the simple love story that Murakami suggests, centered on the image of the jazz standard “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” But, of course, the book includes an array of other themes, some handled better than others. Murakami’s word choices, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

More Information on Murakami’s 1Q84

Between the widespread use of the Internet and Murakami’s huge reputation in English-speaking countries, it seems like 1Q84 is the most-widely-covered-upon-publication non-English title ever. Well, whether or not, here’s more:

“1Q84″ begins with a female protagonist, Aomame, descending an emergency staircase to an alternative reality. Though oblivious at first of having accomplished this feat, she starts to notice tiny peculiarities such as an adjustment in police firearms. Observations at odds with her memory add up and Aomame becomes increasingly confused. Yet she is, for no particular reason, easy to relate with — a fact that becomes unsettling . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Murakami Interivew

Via the Literary Saloon I see a two part interview with Murakami dealing with his recent work, including his new novel, 1Q84.

Q: For the first time in one of your full-length novels, the narrative is given in the third-person. However, an intimacy close to that of a first-person narrative is maintained, and the young people in it are beautifully depicted. This made me realize once again that, even though you have been writing novels for the past 30 years, your work is still literature about early adulthood.

A: As they age, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

1Q84: It IS About Orwell

The Guardian reports that Haruki Murakami’s gigantic new novel, 1Q84, is rooted in George Orwell’s novel 1984:

Murakami has now admitted that he had “long wanted to write a near-past novel similar to George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984″ and that this was one of the inspirations for the book. Another was the series of interviews with Aum victims which he conducted following the 1995 gas attacks, and published as Underground.

Underground takes the form of a series of interviews conducted in the wake of the gas attacks on Tokyo’s subway system in 1995. Therein, . . . continue reading, and add your comments