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
  • 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... »
  • Literary AdvocatesLiterary Advocates

    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 […]

Breaking Down the Wall Between Readers and Writers

(This week I’m covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.)

One of the nice things about the IFOA is the amount of interaction possible between readers and writers–and writers and other writers, and publishers and writers–during the festival. In a lot of literary events there’s a very prescribed sort of interaction . . . the writer’s generally up on a podium speaking to the audience from a distance, and if there’s any interaction it occurs during the brief Q & A at the end of the event. I’m not sure this is the best way to present . . . continue reading, and add your comments

The Extent of Canadian Lit

(This week I’m covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.)

It’s safe to say that this week I’ve learned more about Canadian literature than I have in the 52 weeks preceding this one. It’s very eye-opening to see exactly how much literature is going on here, and how little of it ever makes its way to the United States.

I’m flying today, so not a lot of time to run down some of the authors and publishers I’ve met and discovered up here, but I certainly will be writing more about this in the days and weeks . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Continuing the Major Book Festival Question

(This week I’m covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.)

To continue the point I made in this post, one of the things that separates what’s being done at Harbourfront Centre (the organization that puts on the IFOA) from similar literary festivals in the U.S. is that their program is year-round, and it’s a fairly well-developed framework–and it’s non-profit. Yes, there is a strong culture of literary events in certain U.S. cities, but it’s generally tied to bookstores or other for-profit enterprises, and we saw what could happen wen Cody’s Books in Berkeley closed rather . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Tash Aw: After the Epilogue: What starts when the writing is finished

(This week I'm covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto. This event is After the Epilogue: What starts when the writing is finished, with Tash Aw, Andrea De Carlo, Giles Foden and Sarah Waters.)

It was interesting to see that this panel moved fairly quickly from questions of craft (How do you know a novel is done?) to questions of sales and marketing (How do you sell your novel once you have it?). The event reached a weird sort of antithesis of itself when the authors somehow collectively reached the conclusion that that readings and public . . . continue reading, and add your comments

On Subsidizing Literature, and Whether It Works

(This week I’m covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.)

One thing I’m picking up this week is that the Canadians really go out of their way to subsidize and promote national literature, to (in my opinion) a much greater extent than is done in the U.S. First and foremost, they have three tiers of public funding for authors–nationally, at the province level, and at the city level–and the money can be good enough to cobble a reasonable living from, between government money and book sales/touring.

This point was somewhat addressed at the Colm Toibin panel . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Nicholson Baker: On Hearing Voices and Seeing Places You’ve Never Been

(This week I’m covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto. This event is On Hearing Voices and Seeing Places You’ve Never Been, featuring Nicholson Baker, Iain Pears, Adam Thorpe, David Wroblewski, and host Charles Foran .)

At this event, the very first thing I noted was that it was not nearly full. I’m sure in many U.S. cities it would not be hard at all to get a capacity crowd for Nicholson Baker, but not here. This was a fairly well-attended event, but certainly not what one would think of for a name like Baker. (This . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Where’s the Major Book Festival in the United States?

(This week I’m covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.)

After seeing how the Harbourfront Centre and the Canadian government (and in addition, Scotland, Ireland, England, and Australia) have been working together to promote national authors and reading this week, I’ve got to wonder where our national festival is. I know we’ve got the New Yorker Festival and the LA Times Book Festival of Books, but I don’t consider those the same, since they’re being run as a for profit venture by private firms. That’s fine, but I’m thinking that a festival that had the kind . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Governor General’s Literary Award Finalists

(This week I'm covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto. This event is the Governor General's Literary Award Finalists ceremony.

The GGs, as the Governor General's Award is known round here, are really big news in Canada. This is about as big as prizes get, sort of like if you could combine the prestige of the American National Book Award and the Pulitzer. The list of winners reads pretty much like a history of Canadian literature, including Alica Munroe (3 times), Margaret Atwood, Mavis Gallant, and about 60 others. Interestingly (for people like me) . . . continue reading, and add your comments

My First Purchase: King Leary by Paul Quarrington

(This week I'm covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.)

Earlier this week I blogged about how dumbfounded I was to find a massive crowd of people come out to celebrate an author I'd never heard of at all. That author was Paul Quarrington, and after browsing the numerous books of his available for sale at this year's IFOA I decided that King Leary would be my first purchase. (This purchase was motivated in large part by the fact that, apparently, Leary is not available in the . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Interview: Paul Theroux by Eleanor Wachtel

(This week I'm covering the International Festival of Authors in Toronto. This event is "Interview: Paul Theroux by Eleanor Wachtel.")

Paul Theroux has long been one of those authors I feel like I should get around to but never quite have: I own a couple of his better-known books and have long harbored unfulfilled intentions to read them. After this event, I think I will.

Theroux and his interviewer, Eleanor Wachtel, started off their conversation with Tthe ostensible reason Theroux was at the IFOA–the publication of his new book, A Dead Hand: A . . . continue reading, and add your comments