Category Archives: j robert lennon

The Better Lennon

Interesting essay over at Boston Review arguing (in part) that Pieces for the Left Hand is the J. Robert Lennon novel we should be reading (as opposed to his more recent Castle, which has made a splash of late.

Some nice criticism:

The subject of Pieces for the Left Hand is the tension between intimacy and distance in a close-knit social system: more specifically, the ways in which our personal and public narratives conflict. Je est un autre. Thus, we get an argument over who should be honored with the name of the town’s main street, which leaves the street nameless; a centuries-old accommodation between a Native American tribe and local landowners disrupted by bloviation from an ambitious politician; a suicide—complete with desperate, fragmentary note—that isn’t. Twins turn out not to be twins—not even siblings. The narrator’s cat is actually someone else’s, a mistake apparently made five years before, on the eve of his move from another city. Over and over, we face the unreliability of memory when it is brought into public exchange: eye witnesses to a drive-by shooting cannot agree on any of the details of the event; a childhood memory of a father’s accident is disproven, point by point, but proves just as stubbornly vivid as it had been before (and therefore even more disturbing). Things either are not what they seem, or else they are what they seem, only the inner life of that congruence is no longer what we thought it was.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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