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 […]

When to Publish Posthumously?

The recent publication of 500 pages of Cortazar's uncompleted writings has occasioned a debate in the Spanish-language press as to whether or not they should have been published. Here's Jaime Collyer in El Mercurio:

No ocurre lo mismo con los textos sustraídos en su día -y aquí relanzados- a los cronopios y famas o a Un tal Lucas, o con los fragmentos y capítulos que faltaron en El libro de Manuel, muchos de los cuales resultan prescindibles. Hizo bien, el Cortázar más riguroso con sus materiales, al descartarlos. ¿Qué sentido tenía, o tiene a estas alturas, rescatar de . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Hemingway and His Women

I'm posting this here mainly because it's a little too long to tweet properly, but really must be shared.

It seems that the Cubans are sufficiently into Hemingway to preserve as a historical artifact his hotel room (number 511) in the hotel Ambos Mundos. Well, now, in that very room, they are mounting an exhibition of photographs of Hemingway and his many female callers.

On top of that, they will also exhibit lines from Hemingway's love letters:

En su libro de memorias La torre blanca, Adriana publicó fragmentos de cartas de Hemingway, quien se refería a ella . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Does Latin American Literature Exist?

In Letras Libres, Gustavo Guerrero ponders if Latin American fiction isn’t too fragmented to be considered as a whole:

Yo tengo para mí que la comprensión del momento actual de la literatura latinoamericana no puede seguir ahorrándose una discusión explícita y abierta sobre este tema. Aún más: creo que cualquier mapa del territorio de nuestra narrativa última, por pequeño o abocetado que sea, tiene que dibujarse hoy sobre la base de una toma de consciencia del cambio de paradigma y de época que se ha producido, pues se trata de una mudanza de horizontes que es inseparable de . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Did James Read Proust?

In a review of one of Henry James's last (and unfinished) novels, Rodrigo Fresan speculates as to whether James read Proust and was inspired by him:

Y fue Edith Wharton quien le obsequió a James el primer volumen de En busca del tiempo perdido, pero, curiosamente, nada se sabe de la impresión -ni siquiera hay evidencias de que lo haya leído, aunque cuesta creerlo- que Marcel Proust pudo haber causado al autor de Lo que Maisie sabía y del autobiográfico Un chiquillo y otros, títulos a los que más de un crítico señaló como obvios precursores . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Interview With Álvaro Enrigue

NY1 has made available a Spanish-language interview with the author Álvaro Enrigue, whose short story "On the Death of the Author" was probably my favorite piece from the recent anthology Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction.

If you enjoyed this story, you should have a look at the interview, as Enrigue discusses how the piece evokes a sensibility of being between nations (the U.S. and Mexico) and also says that the piece was actually one from a book-lenth series of stories that ends by approaching a form more like a novel.

Maybe it's just hearing Enrigue talk, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

HermanoCerdo 23

I see they've just published the new issue of HermanoCerdo. Among the goodies for Spanish-readers this time around, you'll find:

A review of Daniel Sada's Casi nunca, which I was recently thrilled to discover will one day be available in English. It's interesting to note that the HC review says that although Sada is oftn an extremely difficult stylist, Casi nunca is a very straightforward novel, by his standards:

El anterior fragmento es una buena muestra del estilo de la novela. Una prosa muy bien cuidada pero de fácil lectura, que apenas hace notar la extrañeza de . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Rodrigo Fresan to Oversee List of Crime Novels

On Moleskine Literario I see that Rodrigo Fresan will be overseeing a collection of crime novels for Random House's Spanish-language publisher, Random House Mondadori.

I point this out not because I expect to read any of these soon (although wouldn't it be great if Random House had Fresan pick a list for the U.S.?) but rather because Pagina 12 has made available Fresan's introduction to one of the first titles, Don Winslow's El podel del perro (originally published in English by Knopf as The Power of the Dog).

In it, Fresan tackles a subject that should . . . continue reading, and add your comments

The Aztec Boom: Mexico’s Resurgent Literature

Argentine arts magazine Ñ is celebrating the resurgence of Mexican literature. According to Ñ, various signs all point to an Aztec boom:

Este 2009 está siendo el año prodigioso de la literatura mexicana. Al menos, visto desde el otro lado del charco. Varios indicios nos conducen a semejante conclusión. Primero: hace tan sólo quince días cerró sus puertas el Salón del Libro de París, uno de los más importantes de Europa, con México como país invitado… y batiendo récords de asistencia de público – 198.150 personas, un 20% más que el año anterior-. Segundo: . . . continue reading, and add your comments

El Tercer Reich to Be Published by Anagrama

Well, the Bolano posthumous publication brigade is getting started. Via Moleskine Literario I see that El Pais is reporting that Spanish powerhouse publisher Anagrama will be publishing El tercer Reich (The Third Reich) in January of 2010:

Tras siete meses de arduas negociaciones, Jorge Herralde, editor de Anagrama y que ha publicado en España a Bolaño, firmará la semana próxima el contrato de edición de la obra, que lanzará en enero de 2010. "Es anterior a sus dos grandes novelas", ubica Herralde, que dice casi aliviado no saber nada de las otras dos obras inéditas, como pidiendo . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Interview With Santiago Roncagliolo

About the only thing I know about Peruvian author Santiago Roncagliolo is that his Alfaguara Prize-winning novel, Red April, is pubbing in English in late April from Pantheon. But this interview does make me want to know more.

¿Cuándo y dónde empieza la verdad en una novela?

RESPUESTA. (Risas). ¡No tengo la menor idea! Precisamente de eso habla esta novela. Tampoco tengo claro dónde empieza la verdad en las verdaderas historias de la gente. Desde La cuarta espada (la historia de Abimael Guzmán) venía pensando en la idea de que cuando alguien te cuenta la historia . . . continue reading, and add your comments