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.


  • 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 […]

First (?) Pale King Review

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Bookforum tells me that PW’s review of The Pale King is the first. The lede is decidedly dour: . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Good Day for Me in NYC

I registered two nice appearances yesterday in those big-time NYC periodicals. First off, The New Yorker’s Book Bench ran a very nice post on the simply beautiful covers for Melville House’s new Heinrich Boll titles. And, as you can see, right at the top of the item is the cover for The Clown, with my name, wee but quite legible . . . . . . continue reading, and add your comments

James O. Incandeza’s Films To be Screened

So a bunch of artists put together an exhibition of some films they made inspired by James O. Incandeza’s oeuvre, as described in a footnote to Infinite Jest. They’re calling it “A Failed Entertainment.” Here for instance is a still from The Medusa vs. the Odalisque by Jessica Segall: . . . continue reading, and add your comments

More Thoughts on The Pale King

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I readily admit, I’m a Pale King skeptic. In fact, I’m pretty skeptical about all posthumous, incomplete texts. In most cases, if an author didn’t finish it, I’m not really interested in reading it (with obvious exceptions; e.g., Kafka). At The Howling Fantods, a great DFW site in general, Nick Maniatis has an alternative view that’s worth a look. Here’s the start: . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Is This What The Pale King Should Have Looked Like?

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Earlier this week, I mentioned that The New Yorker has published a work by David Foster Wallace entitled Backbone, an excerpt from The Pale King. Now there is an extremely interesting Google Doc that purports to offer “Changes between the transcription of David Foster Wallace reading ‘A fragment of a longer thing’ (Dec. 2000) and The New Yorker’s publication of that story as ‘Backbone’ (Feb. 28, 2011).” . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Pale King Excerpt in The New Yorker

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In case that rock you’ve been living under is a little heavy . . . & if you want, you can pre-order the book here.

VIDEO: New BBC David Foster Wallace Documentary

45 minute DFW documentary from the BBC. Need I say more?

Surely you have 45 minutes . . . . . . continue reading, and add your comments

On Wallace’s Philosophy Thesis

Levi Asher isn’t too hot on DFW’s “new” “book,” Fate Time and Language: . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Understanding DFW’s Thesis

Everybody who has a grasp of formal logic, raise your hand. Okay, unless I’ve vastly underestimated my popularity among the philosophy grad students, that should not be to many of you. But if you are to make an honest attempt to read DFW’s thesis, Fate, Time, and Language, then you’ll probably want to have some understanding of this stuff. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

The Introduction to David Foster Wallace’s Thesis

In case you’ve forgotten (and let’s face it, unless you’re an enormous fanboy, you probably have), David Foster Wallace’s college thesis goes on sale in December from Columbia University Press under the title Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will. CUP is now offering an excerpt from James Ryerson’s introduction to the book: . . . continue reading, and add your comments