For the record, James Wood’s take on Mitchell is pretty much my own. Dude can write for days, but I rarely feel that there is any greater meaning or insight to get out of his books.
Mitchell has plenty to tell, but does he have much to say? “Cloud Atlas” offered an impressive narrative parquet, but what else was it? In that novel, to take an example, Robert Frobisher, a composer working in the nineteen-thirties, is writing a musical piece called “Cloud Atlas Sextet”; later in the book, in the pulp-fiction tale set in nineteen-seventies California, a character . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Music & Literature unearths a sroty of Ann Quin and publishes it. If the name is new to you, have a look here.
Nice interview with Bela Tarr’s cinematographer, Fred Kelemen, discussing the film The Turin Horse (which I recently watched, and which is incredible). Even the brief intro to this interview is packed with more insight than most things you’re likely to read on this film.
Scope: In Tarr’s films one is always aware of the camera and its relationship to physical space. His cinema and your cinema make the viewer quite aware of the physical space and the relationship—either close or far—of where the camera is to bodies and space. Was that something you were immediately aware of in . . . continue reading, and add your comments
All publishing this fall. Pretty nice list. Good on Publishers Weekly.
Been a while since I read Crime and Punishment. Sounds interesting.
Several earlier translations tended to smooth over Dostoevsky’s stylistic peculiarities, robbing the novel of the unique, jagged tone and nervous repetitions that best represent Raskolnikov’s anxious state. Ready sought to preserve these lexical peculiarities of Dostoevsky’s language in his own work, while also trying to maintain the novel’s hypnotic and compelling power. In doing so, he inevitably stumbled on some unique features of Russian that are very hard to reproduce in English.
“All those particles and adverbs, often denoting elusive emotions and emphasis rather than meaning . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The current issue of the Golden Handcuffs Review has my essay “The Eclipse; Or, The Vulva,” which is part of a series of work based in the novels of Walter Abish. Plus there’s an interview with Joseph McElroy, a new translation by Harry Mathews, poetry by Rae Armentrout, and a whole bunch of other stuff. So, you know. consider buying the issue.
While I tend to lump blockbusters into an outlier category regardless of what language they were originally written in, I do think that there’s something to the fact that people will increasingly bandwagon on books not written in English. Michael Orthofer correctly observes that there’s still a way to go before we get back to what would in prior times be considered a moderate amount of interest in translated literature, but there does seem to be some reason for optimism. People aren’t quite as weirded out by foreign literature as they once were. Anglos, in general, seem . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Nice that there are still places like the LRB that publish things like this:
By the time he was elected to the Académie française in 2004, Alain Robbe-Grillet had suffered a cruel fate: he had all the renown he could have hoped for but few readers to show for it. The literary movement he’d launched half a century earlier – the nouveau roman – had ground to a halt. The new novel – anti-psychological and anti-expressive, stripped of individualised characters, temporal continuity and meaning itself – was no longer new. Like the total serialism championed by his contemporary . . . continue reading, and add your comments
This is the first review I’ve read of the new Murakami book. My feeling is that Nathaniel Rich, representing The Atlantic’s point of view, could have done a lot better. Essentially, it reads to me like a bunch of clichés about Murakami’s writing, minus any actual critical judgment about this book, or any deep insight into how this book feels or works. To wit:
Yet we’re undeniably in Murakamiland. Nobody else could have written this novel, or dared to try. Then again, given the remarkable continuity of his fiction, nearly every Murakami novel feels like a new . . . continue reading, and add your comments
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 translated, I wanted to read it.
It was After Nature that got me hooked on Sebald. I opened the wings of the altarpiece that was Sebald himself and entered the world I found there, that world that had initially seemed as inscrutable as the man. Even now, it seems as though I’ve forgotten to go back to the world I’d known before. I discovered that for certain people, time is divided into . . . continue reading, and add your comments