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 Treatise on Shelling Beans by Wiesław Myśliwski March 9, 2014
    A man enters a house and asks to buy some beans, but we aren’t given his question, only the response: humble surprise from the narrator and an invitation inside. This modesty, though it remains at the core of the narrator throughout, is quickly overwhelmed when his questions, his welcoming explanations, flow into an effort to tell his whole life story, from […]
  • The Gorgeous Nothings by Emily Dickinson, edited by Marta Werner and Jen Bervin March 9, 2014
    The Gorgeous Nothings, the dedicated work of visual artist Jen Bervin and author Marta Werner, presents in large format the first full-color publication of all fifty-two of Emily Dickinson’s envelope writings. As such, it opens up an aspect of her craft that suggests she was, in the so-called late ecstatic period of her career, experimenting with creating te […]
  • The Mehlis Report by Rabee Jaber March 9, 2014
    The Mehlis Report follows the architect Saman Yarid on his daily perambulations around Lebanon's capital, where his memories of the city's past and his observations of the high-rises that have emerged from the ruins of the nation's civil war dominate the faint plot. But the book transcends Beirut: Jaber writes about what is left behind when pe […]
  • The Fiddler of Driskill Hill by David Middleton March 9, 2014
    Middleton’s sensibility as poet and man is thoroughly Christian, Southern (or rather, Louisianan), and traditional, but he’s no unreconstructed romantic Rebel reliving the Civil War. His manner is meditative and elegiac, not rancorous or redneck. In a rare useful blurb on the back of the book, the North Carolina poet and novelist Fred Chappell describes Midd […]
  • The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell March 9, 2014
    After The Kindly Ones, the nine hundred-page long Goncourt Prize-winning “autobiography” of a Nazi, fans of the Franco-American writer Jonathan Littell may heave an inward sigh of relief at the sight of The Fata Morgana Books. A slim collection of “studies” (as some of these stories were called in their original French incarnations), The Fata Morgana Books n […]
  • Novelty: A History of the New by Michael North March 9, 2014
    There is no better way to ensure the early demise of a form or a style than to proclaim its newness; fewer epithets are as old as “new.” A well-known work by Italian artist Maurizio Nannucci reads, “All art has been contemporary”—we may wish to amend it, for present purposes, and have it read, “All art has been new.” Yet surely this is something of a truism. […]
  • A Life Among Invented Characters: A Tribute to Mavis Gallant March 9, 2014
    Two things immediately come to mind when remembering Mavis Gallant: her unique sense of humor—stories always told with a wry half-smile—and her near-comical stonewalling when confronted with leading questions about her craft in interviews and with audiences. The first time I was in her simple three-room apartment on rue Jean Ferrandi, a mere three blocks fro […]
  • The Guy Davenport Reader March 9, 2014
    Poet-critic. Think of that word, made of two—what a beaux construction. The first is wild, hair mussed, looking at a bird in a tree—yet the follower is practical, urbane, and seemingly obeisant to word counts. Together they bleach out the fusspot academic and appeal to logos—Davenport once said that he was “not writing for scholars or critics, but for people […]
  • [SIC] by Davis Schneiderman March 9, 2014
    In 2011 Andrew Gallix, in the Guardian, wrote a piece on unread difficult books, and mentioned “an anthology of blank books [edited by Michael Gibbs] entitled All Or Nothing,” and we can consider Blank as continuing that line. Kenneth Goldsmith’s prefatory essay “Why Conceptual Writing? Why Now?” in Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (201 […]
  • The Ben Marcus Interview March 9, 2014
    I do tend to generate a lot of pages when I’m drafting something, and I cut as I go. I make strange noises out of my face, on the page, and they are for the most part not worth keeping. Some of the stories don’t take shape until I overwrite and pursue every cursed dead-end I can think of, which clarifies everything I don’t want the story to become. But I don […]

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