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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  • The Atlantic on Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of PilgrimageThe Atlantic on Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

    This is the first review I've read of the new Murakami book. My feeling is that Nathaniel Rich, representing The Atlantic's... »
  • Bae Suah on SebaldBae Suah on Sebald

    Bae Suah is one of the more astonishing authors I've discovered lately. So when I saw that an essays of hers on Sebald had been... »
  • The Old School QCThe Old School QC

    Thanks to Michael Orthofer for this blast from the past. In his look back through the days of yore for various literary... »
  • Wallace MarginaliaWallace Marginalia

    The writing on this is horrifyingly bad, but there is some interesting information here about the things David Foster Wallace... »
  • All Hail AugustusAll Hail Augustus

    Daniel Mendelsohn's introduction to the NYRB Classics' reissue of Augustus is now available online as part of the Aug 14 issue... »
  • Anybody?Anybody?

    I don't expect The New York Times to have mastered the minutia of every single topic on earth, but it would be nice if the... »
  • A Million WindowsA Million Windows

    A nice review at Music & Literature of the latest book from Gerald Murnane, A Million Windows. For those of you who have been... »
  • Simon LeysSimon Leys

    Writer Pierre Ryckmans, aka Simon Leys, died earlier this week. So, perhaps the kind memorial messages that are appearing will... »
  • How Benjamin LivedHow Benjamin Lived

    Stuart Jeffries reviews the new biography of Walter Benjamin, Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life, in The Guardian. In the... »
  • Augustus by John WilliamsAugustus by John Williams

    Fans of Stoner-author John Williams (or just fans of great literature), NYRB Classics is soon releasing Williams's final novel,... »

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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.

  • Nostalgia June 15, 2014
    Few habits are as prone to affliction, or as vulnerable to an ordeal, as the bent of a peddler’s consciousness. Placeless, the peddler completes an untold number of transactions; there are ideas to conduct (through language, which can transact a mind) and feelings to certify (through tasks, repeated interminably). […]
  • Why Literary Periods Mattered by Ted Underwood June 15, 2014
    There are some writers who are, and likely always will be, inextricably linked to the “period” with which their work is associated, and in many cases helped to define. Surely Wordsworth and Keats will always be “Romantic” poets, while Faulkner and Woolf will remain modernists, as the term “modern” has been fully appropriated to describe the historical era be […]
  • Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz June 15, 2014
    August 1939. You sail to Buenos Aires on the Chombry as a cultural ambassador of Poland. Why say no to a little holiday on the government’s tab? Soon after arriving you sense that something isn’t right. You emerge from a welcome reception and your ears are “filled with newspaper cries: ‘Polonia, Polonia,’ most irksome indeed.” Before you’ve even had a chance […]
  • Accepting the Disaster by Joshua Mehigan June 15, 2014
    The first collections of most young poets, even the better ones, carry with them a hint of bravado. Flush with recognition, vindicated by the encouraging attentions of at least one editor and three blurbists, the poet strikes a triumphant pose and high-fives the Muse: “We did it, baby.” When Joshua Mehigan published his impressive first collection, The Optim […]
  • The Histories of Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland June 15, 2014
    Two of the greatest of Tom Holland's predecessors in translating Herodotus are Victorian scholar George Rawlinson and Aubrey de Selincourt; the former translated Herodotus in 1860, making an enormous hit (despite the fact that its detractors often referred to it as “dull and prolix"), while the latter's 1954 Herodotus was another enormous hit, […]
  • Bullfight by Yasushi Inoue June 15, 2014
    The premise of Yasushi Inoue's debut novella Bullfight, celebrated in Japan as a classic of postwar literature, is unassuming enough: an evening newspaper sponsors a tournament of the regional sport of bull-sumo. As practical and financial issues arise, the paper's young editor-in-chief, Tsugami, soon realizes he has taken on more than he can handl […]
  • Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones June 15, 2014
    Sworn Virgin was made to be translated. Elvira Dones wrote this book not in her native language of Albanian but in Italian—a necessarily fraught and complicated decision. In an Italian-language interview with Pierre Lepori, Dones speaks about her choice of language: “Sworn Virgin was born in Italian . . . I’ve lived using Italian for nineteen years, it has s […]
  • On the Letters of David Markson June 15, 2014
    Knowing these narrators and how their lives paralleled David’s own, it’s difficult to deny his being a recluse. I certainly held that image of him, and nursed it, secretly cherishing it because it meant I was one of the few people with whom he corresponded, and with whom he would occasionally meet. Arranging our first meetings in person was something of a ni […]
  • Storm Still by Peter Handke June 15, 2014
    Storm Still (Immer Noch Sturm) does not necessarily represent new terrain for Handke. Originally published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 2010 and now available for English-language readers thanks to Martin Chalmers’ fluent translation, the play chronicles the dissolution of the Svinec family, a family of Carinthian Slovenes—a quasi-fictionalized version of Handke’s […]
  • Red or Dead by David Peace June 15, 2014
    David Peace's novel Red or Dead is about British football, but it partakes in the traits of Homer's epic. This is a novel about the place of myth and heroes in modern society, about how the cyclical rhythms of athletic seasons reflect the cyclical patterns of life. It is a book about honor and fate, and one which bridges the profound, dreamlike ter […]

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