It’s early, but The Musical Brain and Other Stories—the first story collection by César Aira to appear in English—is already shaping up to be one of my favorite reads of the year. I’m a die-hard Aira fan, but there are books of his that I feel just aren’t quite as good as they might be. What I’m saying is, some of his conceits work for me, and some of them don’t.
The amazing thing for me about The Musical Brain is that it all works. These are 20 stories, and each of them is virtuosic. In addition to . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Minae Mizumura was a runner-up for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award. That year Seiobo There Below was the winner (and virtually impossible to beat), but had that book not won, it’s very possible that A True Novel would have.
Mizumura’s project is original and interesting, and her second book to be translated into English was published last month by Columbia University Press. It is The Fall of Language in the Age of English, translated by Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter.
Reviews in The Complete Review:
The Fall of Language in the Age . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Gail Hareven is notable for having won the 2010 Best Translated Book Award (for The Confessions of Noa Weber). I’ve heard very good things about Lies, First Person, which is publishing next week.
Not a ton of reviews available yet, but here are two: Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus.
I would like to recommend to you all Aliens and Anorexia by the American avant-garde writer, editor, and filmmaker Chris Kraus. Published in 2000, it was her second novel, and I think it more successfully realizes the goals set by another recent American novel, The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. (This isn’t the place for my thoughts on Kushner’s accomplished, but ultimately disappointing, novel, but if you want to read those you can find some of them here.)
What is at the heart of these two books? Modernism, femininity, feminism in the avant-garde . . . continue reading, and add your comments
After my posting last week that I was going to try and make this blog a little more writing-centric and less linky, there were some lamentations for the bygone era of the links. My best response to this is follow me on Twitter. You get all the links and much more.
But I know many of you aren’t the social media types (which I understand) so I added in a Twitter widget to the sidebar on the left. Now you can have all the goodness of my Twitter feed without actually having a Twitter account or even leaving . . . continue reading, and add your comments
From Anne Carson’s “fictional essay” The Beauty of the Husband.
Repression speaks about sex better than any other form of discourse or so the modern experts maintain. How do people get power over one another? is an algebraic question
you used to say. “Desire doubled is love and love doubled is madness.” Madness doubled is marriage I added when the caustic was cool, not intending to produce a golden rule.
I thought this was a very successful book. I read it in a couple of hours over the Atlantic. I’m not quite sure what the term “fictional essay” . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Hey guys, it’s 2015. This blog first went online in 2004. In Internet time, that’s several geologic eras. In 2004, Google AdSense (and web advertising) barely existed, there was no Twitter or Facebook, Amazon was struggling for profitability (well, some things never change), and much of the mainstream press enjoyed stigmatizing this whole blog fad thing.
Anyway, point is, things are different now. The way the Internet exists has changed, and the way that I (and, I would guess, you) use the it is different. Also, I’m in a pretty different place in my life. I’ll spare you the . . . continue reading, and add your comments
From Oulipian Frédéric Forte’s Minute-Operas, translated by Daniel Levin Becker, Ian Monk, Michelle Noteboom, and Jean-Jacques Poucel (more info here)
I emerge from the frigid depths of the winter holidays to offer you this link to an interview I conducted with the Guatemalan author Rodrigo Rey Rosa. It is part of a stellar all-translation issue of The White Review put together by Daniel Medin.
I began reading Rey Rosa in late 2013 when Chris Andrews’s translation of The African Shore arrived in English. That book is fantastic, and soon I had read everything else of Rey Rosa’s I could get my hands on.
Q THE WHITE REVIEW — Jorge Luis Borges is a major influence of yours, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Some love for two of my favorite journals at NPR.
From The White Review, a fantastic quarterly arts journal in print and online, to Electric Literature, which is known for its features, masterful interviews, and brilliant design, there is much to discover. Then there’s a personal favorite, Music & Literature — the brave new kid on the block, highlighting exciting writers and musicians we might otherwise never come across. Each issue is a gem, and especially useful for those interested in breaking their parochial American reading habits and looking more globally.
“The support of curious and ambitious readers . . . continue reading, and add your comments