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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You Say

  • Neil G: Think of how less juvenile Marilynne Robinson's writing woul
  • Padraic: Funny, I had no idea Phillip Roth grew up in the Midwest...
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  • Bernie: Whoa now, mind your Midwestern readers there...
  • Gs: There seems to me an important facet of fiction revealed in
  • David Long: This is a list I posted a few days ago: 25 REASONS TO THA
  • Padraic: I think Saramango gives Coetzee a pretty good run for most a

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.

  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante September 16, 2014
    Few novelists have captured the rhythms and flow of life with the veracity of Elena Ferrante in her Neapolitan Novels. Following the friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo from childhood to old age, the tetralogy spans fifty years; over the course of that time, no emotion is too small, too dark, too banal to be recorded. No expense, so to speak, is […]
  • Trieste by Daša Drndić September 15, 2014
    As Drndić reiterates throughout the novel, “Behind every name there is a story.” And Haya Tedeschi’s story is draped in death. Born to a Jewish family that converted to Catholicism and tacitly supported the Fascists in Italy, Haya was a bystander to the Holocaust. She attended movies while Jews and partisans were transported to concentration camps; she pored […]
  • The Tree With No Name by Drago Jančar September 15, 2014
    At the opening of chapter 87—the first chapter found in The Tree with No Name—Janez Lipnik finds himself up a tree, shoeless, and lost in the Slovenian countryside. He makes his way to a house where he is taken in by a woman teacher who is waiting for her lover, a soldier. It becomes clear we are at the height of World War II. Soon after, we follow Lipnik […]
  • Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories September 15, 2014
    Here, at the midpoint of his narrative, Bernhard, the affectless and purposeless protagonist of "The Unseen," experiences existential near-emancipation at dusk. This retreat toward obscurity in terse, direct language—thematic and stylistic markers of each work in the collection—comes immediately after Bernhard’s sister mentions her plans to enterta […]
  • Berlin Now by Peter Schneider September 15, 2014
    In his new book of essays, Berlin Now, Peter Schneider reveals himself as a gnarled Cold Warrior who has been stricken with many of the maladies common to his generation. With the specter of Communism exorcized, his new enemy is Islam. The book is a collection of short interlocking pieces introducing Anglophone readers to Berlin; it is not being published in […]
  • Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente September 15, 2014
    In 1999, Marcos Giralt Torrente’s debut novel, Paris, was awarded the XVII Premio Herralde de Novela prize. Despite his success, it took fourteen years for Giralt’s work to appear in English, with the story collection The End of Love arriving in 2013. Now, this year sees the publication of two more books by Giralt: Paris, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, a […]
  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner September 15, 2014
    “It seemed that the [New Yorker] story—which was in part the result of my dealing with the reception of my novel—had been much more widely received than the novel itself,” says the narrator of Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04. Perhaps this narrator is Lerner himself—at one point he describes 10:04, within its own pages, as “neither fiction nor nonfiction but […]
  • Theories of Forgetting by Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen’s Theories of Forgetting is a masterful work structured around Robert Smithson’s earthwork “The Spiral Jetty.” Olsen’s novel is comprised of three narrations, written each by a separate member of a family. The husband’s and wife’s texts progress in opposite directions across the book, with each page divided among these two inverted texts; though […]
  • An Interview with Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    The most substantial may be that innovative fiction knows what it is, that someone like me could define it in any productive way, that innovative fiction might somehow be one thing, or somehow consistent through time and space. None of these is the case. That’s exactly what I find most exciting about writing it, reading it, thinking about it. Innovative fict […]
  • The Ants by Sawako Nakayasu September 15, 2014
    In The Ants, we receive a study of existence through ants. That is, there are ants everywhere, ants substituted in every segment of the landscape, yet their behavior seems to reveal something altogether human. Too human. The ants are crushed and disappointed. They are warm and many. They are involved in gang wars and live inside carrot cake. The unique quali […]

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