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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  • 20 Books at 3820 Books at 38

    I'm surprised to learn Andres Newman is so young. Also, great overview of his books in English. Andrés Neuman is... »
  • The Future ModianoThe Future Modiano

    The Complete Review has the details of the future Englishing of our most recent Nobel laureate. And also, sales figures. For... »
  • Quarterly Conversationi Issue 38Quarterly Conversationi Issue 38

    Issue 38 right here. or TOC after the jump. Features Readings, Fragments,... »
  • On KafkaOn Kafka

    Rivka Galchen on the new Kafka bio by Reiner Stach. I have come to the conclusion that anyone who thinks about Kafka for... »
  • Me on ModianoMe on Modiano

    My review of Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano. The most focused of the book’s three diffuse novellas is... »
  • Elena Ferrante InterviewedElena Ferrante Interviewed

    At the NY TImes. I'm currently reading Book 1. Q. You insist on anonymity and yet are developing a cult following,... »
  • Infinite FictionsInfinite Fictions

    Buy David Winters's book.... »
  • Tarr After the HorseTarr After the Horse

    At BOMB: A couple of months after that, in February 2011, Béla Tarr presented the world premiere of The Turin Horse at... »
  • Bolaño: A BiographyBolaño: A Biography

    This is a pretty fair assessment of Bolaño: A Biography. Denied access to papers in the Bolaño estate, the Argentine... »
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    Very honored to be among the esteemed list of "Literary Advocates" named by Entropy magazine for 2014. The list of... »

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.


  • [[there.]] by Lance Olsen December 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen is the author of two recent works, [[there.]] and Theories of Forgetting (FC2). The second presents three narratives in a clearly fictional mode while the first offers day-to-day thoughts on living in another country. We rightly suspect that any artist’s memoir or diary ought to be viewed as written with a prospective public in mind, no matter ho […]
  • Noir and Nihilism in True Detective December 15, 2014
    "It’s just one story. The oldest. . . . Light versus dark." Spanning 8 episodes between January and March of 2014, HBO’s runaway hit True Detective challenged the status quo of contemporary crime drama. The show has been widely celebrated for its philosophy, complexity, and visual aesthetic. Co-starring actors Matthew McConaughey as Rustin "Ru […]
  • 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
    "The paan shop leads to the opening of a tunnel, full of the creatures of the city, and the tears and spit of a fakir." In a single opening line, Uday Prakash sets the scene for the politically incisive, yet intimately human stories of The Walls of Delhi (translated brilliantly from the Hindi by Jason Grunebaum). Lest the fakir suggest otherwise, t […]
  • The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation December 15, 2014
    In a speech reprinted in the book, Heim makes a self-deprecating joke about whether the life of a translator is worth reading: “What does a translator do? He sits and translates!” The Man Between serves as a book-length retort by laying bare all the things Heim did: these include persuading the academy that translation is a scholarly (in addition to a creati […]
  • The Prabda Yoon Interview December 15, 2014
    Yes, I think people are not comfortable anymore to write in this straightforward, traditional way, especially the younger, more progressive writers. So it’s interesting—you have social commentary, and you also get a little bit of structural experiment. You have themes that are very, very Thai. I’m actually very interested to see what new writers will come up […]
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck December 15, 2014
    For Jenny Erpenbeck, no life is lived in an indisputable straight line. Which is why, in her new novel (new in English, though published in 2012 as Aller Tage Abend) she approaches the narrative as a series of potential emotional earthquakes, some which take place, some which might have taken place, all of which reveal something of how political turbulence p […]
  • In the Heart of the Heart of the Country by William H. Gass December 15, 2014
    Once, at a writers symposium, William Howard Gass remarked that to substitute the page for the world is a form of revenge for the recognition that "you are, in terms of the so-called world, an impotent nobody." There is inarguably no contemporary writer of American stock in whose work one might locate a more ambitious war of attrition between innov […]
  • Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli December 15, 2014
    Luiselli’s first novel, Faces in the Crowd, translated into fluid English by Christina MacSweeney, is the perfect illustration of this attitude toward fiction writing. Narrated in short sections spanning multiple storylines and the better part of one hundred years, it uses "[d]eep excavations" to expose the empty spaces in two lives, those of a you […]

Ceres by Mark-Anthony Turnage

Friday Classical Music: Ceres by Mark-Anthony Turnage

This is perhaps the only piece of music inspired by the horrific destruction of humanity by an enormous piece of rock. I saw this performed live last weekend, along with two related pieces he composer wrote later, and so I quote from the program notes for that performance:

I was inspired to write Ceres after reading Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. Ceres was one of the first asteroids to be discovered. I took the idea of asteroids being rocky objects, all of which are capable . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Friday Classical Music: Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, the “Eroica”

Here ya go–the first movement of the symphony that got the Romantic age of music started.

Friday Classical Music: Shostakovich’s 13th String Quartet

Ahh, one of Shostakovich’s late quartets. If you like it, you like it, if you don’t, it goes on for another 18 minutes.

Toward the end of this excerpt you can hear the start of the so-called jazz portion of this quartet. (It lasts about 3 minutes, and it does sound somewhat like jazz.)

Friday Classical Music: Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen died a couple months ago. If you’re not acquainted with the extreme oddity that was this man, then have a look at the above video. He revolutionized compositional music, he thought he was from the star Sirius, and The Beatles liked him so much that they put him on the cover of their album. His music is definitely an acquired taste, but if you’re inclined to the strange . . .

Friday Classical Music: Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians

I’m a little late to this story, but this is the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, a group of undergrate musicians, doing a great performance Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, of one of recent classical music’s most difficult pieces. This group’s performance has won wide priase (including ending up on Alex Ross’s year-end list of favorite 2007 recordings).

For a little background read this in the NYT.

Friday Classical Music: Magma by Erik-Sven Tuur

I wanted to put up Magma, the fourth symphony by the Estonian composer Erik-Sven Tuur, but I can’t find a performance in the public domain, so I’ll give you this piece of his. Tuur’s music is a bit different, but give it a chance. He’s one of m favorite composers at the moment.

Friday Classical Music: On Leave

I´m going to have to put Friday Classical Music on leave for a bit. Hope to return it soon.

Classical Music Friday: Ravel's Tzigane

Here’s a link to the audio. (If Windows doesn’t default to Windows Media Player, then be aware that you can play this on Windows Media Player, or whatever else supports mp3s.)

This is a fun piece. It begins with a beautiful violin cadenza that lasts a few minutes. Then the orchestra joins in and things get crazy. At times it seems like Ravel is just trying out idea after idea–they all sound incredible.

As to recordings, I’ve heard that Maxim Vengerov’s is to die for, but I think they stopped producing that disc about a decade ago. Good luck.

Friday Classical Music: Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto

There’s something about strings that just seems to bring out the badass in Shostakovich. Some of my favorite passages from Shostakovich are played on either a cello or violin–they’re complex, emotional, fast, wicked, like riding on a roller coaster. The cadenza to Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto (with which the above clip opens) is a perfect example. It’s simply amazing, raw and beautiful at once.

This clip plays through to the end of the concerto, and the rest is not hard to find on YouTube.

As for recordings, I have to turn to the playing of the awesome . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Classical Music Friday: Manuel de Falla's Homage de Debussy

Well, virtually anyone who knows anoything about classical music has heard of Claude Debussy. Still quite famous, but lesser-known is the Spaniard Manuel de Falla. As this piece shows, stylistically, de Falla and Debussy had some things in common. Both wrote during the period between World Wars I and II, and both wrote what has been called "impressionistic" music. De Falla, being a native of Spain, however, infused his pieces with many kinds of sound that are not to be found in Debussy. Nights in the Gardens of Spain and El Amor Brujo (Love the Magician) are two . . . continue reading, and add your comments