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.

  • [[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 […]

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