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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    I'm surprised to learn Andres Newman is so young. Also, great overview of his books in English. Andrés Neuman is... »
  • The Future ModianoThe Future Modiano

    The Complete Review has the details of the future Englishing of our most recent Nobel laureate. And also, sales figures. For... »
  • Quarterly Conversationi Issue 38Quarterly Conversationi Issue 38

    Issue 38 right here. or TOC after the jump. Features Readings, Fragments,... »
  • On KafkaOn Kafka

    Rivka Galchen on the new Kafka bio by Reiner Stach. I have come to the conclusion that anyone who thinks about Kafka for... »
  • Me on ModianoMe on Modiano

    My review of Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano. The most focused of the book’s three diffuse novellas is... »
  • Elena Ferrante InterviewedElena Ferrante Interviewed

    At the NY TImes. I'm currently reading Book 1. Q. You insist on anonymity and yet are developing a cult following,... »
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    At BOMB: A couple of months after that, in February 2011, Béla Tarr presented the world premiere of The Turin Horse at... »
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    This is a pretty fair assessment of Bolaño: A Biography. Denied access to papers in the Bolaño estate, the Argentine... »
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You Say

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

Shop though these links = Support this site


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 […]

Naked Singularity Big Read: The Experience of Reading ANS

Now that the Naked Singularity Big Read is concluded, we’re running short responses to the book by Big Read participants. Here’s Kevin Ryan Nava discussing A Naked Singularity as an experience of its being written.

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

In a recent pre-review of D.T. Max’s upcoming David Foster Wallace biography, Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story, Lev Grossman asks the question so many young writers—writers who, like Sergio De La Pava, were raised on “E Unibus Pluram” and Consider the Lobster, writerswho, like I, were raised to worship . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Taking a Chance on ANS

Now that the Naked Singularity Big Read is concluded, we’re running short responses to the book by Big Read participants. Here’s Craig Chisholm discussing his general impressions of A Naked Singularity.

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

To begin an, at this point, untested novel of considerable girth with a biblical passage about the inadequacy of mankind, demanded that I adjust, or at least consider, the barometer of my expectations. There is a reason print-on-demand publishers are rightfully referred to as vanity presses. But in the history of publishing there are texts, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: De La Pava and Entropy

Now that the Naked Singularity Big Read is concluded, we’re running short responses to the book by Big Read participants. Here’s Brandon Walter discussing how De La Pava works the idea of entropy, pioneered by postmodernists like Thomas Pynchon and William Gaddis.

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

A number of authors familiar to readers of this website, William Gaddis, David Foster Wallace, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, J.G. Ballard, Roberto Bolano, Don DeLillo, and most recently, Sergio De La Pava, have all used the ideas of entropy and chaos as central themes to their . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read Wrapup: The River and the Waterfall

Now that the Naked Singularity Big Read is concluded, we’re running short responses to the book by Big Read participants. Here’s Richard Hutzler writing about his experiences with the combination of a very plot-driven book that also felt extremely dense at times.

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

Some books read like a river carrying you slowly downstream—so slowly you can’t even be sure at times you’re moving. It’s deep and it’s wide, and all sorts of interesting things are going on around and below and above you . . . then . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Conclusions

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

This is the last post in the Naked Singularity Big Read, as per our schedule. Whether or not you liked the book, I hope everyone who participated had a good time.

Starting next week, we’ll be having a bunch of guest posts from participants in the read. And I may also chime in with some more thoughts on the book.

Now on to some concluding thoughts on our final chunk of prose.

In response to all the guilt and fear and sadness that Casi now associates . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Absolute Zero

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

To start off, I’m going to ask for volunteers to write up short posts about their experiences with A Naked Singularity. First three volunteers get a signed copy of the original Xlibris edition. If you would like to participate, email me at scott_esposito AT yahoo.com.

Now then, in this final week of reading we’re covering the third and final part of the book. Dane and Casi have just finished their caper, and part three starts off with the information that the temperature is absolute zero. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Possibilities and Potentials

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

In my mind, the chunk of this week’s read that deals with Casi’s experiences in the Alabama penitentiary [469 - 485] demonstrates conclusively at least one or both of the following: Casi’s detachment from reality; the polemical mode of De La Pava’s writing.

We’ve already discussed the former quite a bit; as to the latter, in A Naked Singularity I’ve found De La Pava to be a writer who presents extreme cases, juxtaposing them with one another. Unlike a David Foster Wallace, who would actually detail . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Beyond the Zero

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

To start this week’s section, we are once again with Casi and Dane hashing out their plan. I’m curious to know how everyone feels about these conversations between that De La Pava keeps giving to us. There’s been an awful lot of Casi and Dane hashing out their plan over the past hundred pages or so, but by and large it’s worked very well for me. Even as the conversations have overlaid on similar points and themes, I feel like De La Pava has kept the . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Boxing and the Disintegration of Reality

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

Throughout the last 50 or so pages of this week’s section we see the re-introduction of the Puerto Rican boxer Wilfred Benitez, who was very quickly introduced to A Naked Singularity during week 2′s reading.

Benitez’s boxing career will come to loom larger and larger throughout the remainder of this book, becoming a third narrative strand in juxtaposition to the two main ones: Casi’s scheme with Dane and his defense of the death row convict Jalen Kingg with his colleague Toombin. Just as the . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Lists and Justifications

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

Picking up where we left off earlier this week, in the middle of this week’s section Casi and Dane are hashing out the details of their heist plan. Casi, who already said “yes” to the plan at the end of last week’s section, is having doubts, and Dane is working hard to reassure him and bring him in to the plan.

On page 356 we see an interesting justification Dane gives, a justification that brings in the threads of morality and the American justice system . . . continue reading, and add your comments