Just published, the first full issue of The Buenos Aires Review.
Featuring, among other things, a new translation of Mario Bellatín.
And an interview with Kenneth Goldsmith.
I asked you something a few years ago, about whether you consider Ubuweb a work of art, and you said something interesting, but, you know, I lost the tape, and then I saw this book here, the Letter to Bettina Funcke.
Oh yeah, yeah.
Where you start off by answering that same question, and you say it is, that perhaps it’s the most significant work you’ll ever create, but . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Unfortunately, not quite so common an assumption as one would hope. Jason Schwartz, interviewed.
3:AM: The first section of John the Posthumous is called “Hornbook,” and begins the index of objects and conditions—the pattern, if you please—out of which the rest of the book develops. A little research reveals that the original use of the term stems from 1450 as a tool designed to teach children how to read. With a text as strange as John the Posthumous, is it important to teach readers how to read the narrative as it unfolds? Is it important for you to . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Very nice piece by Ian Sansom on Georges Simenon’s Maigret novels. This piece has a number of things I’d never heard before, although the line about the 10,000 women is not one of those.
In financial terms, Simenon’s move to Maigret was a great success. In 1925, his earnings were 42,671 francs. In 1929, they were 135,460 francs. By 1931, they were 310,561 francs. By the mid-1930s, he was earning about a million francs a year. The figures matter: Simenon is one of the few serious writers whose achievements can be counted in numbers, a writer with a . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I’d honestly like to know why Morrissey commands such godlike status over at Penguin . . .
Having already bowed to Morrissey’s demand that his autobiography be on an imprint usually reserved for the likes of Homer, Virgil and Henry James, Penguin Classics is set to break precedent again by releasing of a hardback version of the Smiths singer’s memoirs seven weeks after the paperback was published.
Whatever lets them keep publishing The Odyssey . . .
Alien Phenomenology sounds very interesting, and Kate Marshall’s review of it in the LARB is solid.
Couple of points. I find the following a little too willfully “counterintuitive.” The fact is that being a “real being” is not all that jarring or staccato. I walk through a city pretty much every day of my life, and it’s amazing the extent to which you can completely ignore all the chaos around you, or, alternatively, make any part of it you want fit seamlessly into the narrative of your life that you’re forming at the present moment. Narratives work . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I don’t really have any idea the extent to which there is sexism at work here, in the sense of reviewers eager to anoint a new boy genius as opposed to being equally eager to anoint a new girl genius, but I will say that the rush to anoint geniuses of either gender is more about the critic than the writer. Let’s face it, it’s a lot more exciting to write a review for the Times about the hottest young author out there than it is to write a review about a well-meaning but ultimately mediocre talent. And . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I’m sorry but I just find it absurd that we’re having this conversation with regard to BuzzFeed. Anyone who takes a look at BuzzFeed knows that it’s not going to be a place for substantive literary criticism, regardless of whether its literary pages are a dark woods of harsh takedowns or a happy Believer-esque playground of unrestrained kindness. People can argue that lists of the genre that BuzzFeed and Flavorwire have pioneered have some sort of use in terms of spreading the news about good books, but no one should serious argue that they’re literary criticism.
And relatedly, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I’ve met people from the LTI, and, well, it’s very clear that they’re deadly serious about getting Korean literature into the Anglosphere. And they’ve done a good job. This is what government subsidization and a real work ethic can get you.
Though I do have to say, chasing Nobels sounds like a recipe for mediocre literature.
Kim Seong-kon is the president of LTI Korea, and on the same day I visit the Book Center, I interview him in his fifth-floor office. He’s wearing a cardigan and a pinstriped suit, a snazzy blend of professor and preppy Korean. It . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I don’t think anyone is going to disagree with the claim that a book should be judged first and foremost by the quality of the writing, but this seems a little too willfully naïve to me. The fact is that whether or not you want them to, associations based on (for instance) the author, the translator (if there is one), the nation/region/state/city of origin, the period in which the book was produced, the subject-matter, the font, the pagination, the quality of the editing, the writer’s “school” (or lack thereof), etc, etc, etc, are all going to impact your . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Music & Literature has posted what appears to be Murnane’s own lists detailing what are in his archives.
Ranging from: “I decide that most books are crap.”
To: “I give a literary prize to a bush pig.”
To: “A letter about bowel movements et al.”
To: “a journal of more than 1,200 pages and about 350,000 words recording the life and thoughts of Gerald Murnane between 1958 and 1972.”
Wow. Bizarre and compelling . . .