A few months ago when Knausgaard fever was sweeping these States, I saw some people promulgating the argument that if a woman had done what Knausgaard did, no one would have cared. Or even worse, she would be derided as self-indulgent and banal.
To my ears that argument has always had a bullshitty ring to it for various reasons, and, well, now I think we have the closest thing possible to proof that it’s wrong. The Italian author Elena Ferrante (a pseudonym) is beginning to catch on big time in the States (see her in The New . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Just reminiscing, but now that we’re talking about Mitchell it seems relevant to share the time I watched the Cloud Atlas movie somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Istanbul. It was roughly the 20th hour of one of the longest, most wearying aviation experiences of my life, and I needed something.
All in all, probably a really interesting way to experience the movie. I recall it being extremely well made and very entertaining in a “take my mind off of the fact that I’m dead tired and can’t sleep and have 10 more hours of aviation ahead . . . continue reading, and add your comments
So I’ve got a little something in the latest issue of Drunken Boat.
If you’ll indulge me in some meta commentary, the origin of this essay is a little interesting (at least to me). I’m a fan of Michael Haneke’s films, and eventually I got to his film The Seventh Continent. This was Haneke’s first movie, and it bears a lot of the marks of the long career in theater that preceded his becoming a director, so maybe this helps account for the fact that this thing got to me like nothing of Haneke’s I’d ever seen. And . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I don’t really know why, but a new book from Haruki Murakami always seems to have a bit of that wow factor, even though I’ve pretty much had my moment with Murakami’s work. Not that I wouldn’t get to these eventually, just that he’s not really the guy I’m aching to read, and hasn’t been for some time.
Anyway, hot on the heels of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage comes The Strange Library in December.
“The Strange Library,” which will be published in the United States by Knopf this December, is narrated by . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Another high-profile pan for David Mitchell’s newest. I think Mitchell is pretty seriously overrated, but most people in the media and the industry seem to love him. (I can still recall the enormous lines at BEA to grab a prized galley . . .) So it’s interesting that a book with this much hype and PR muscle behind it can have such a blemished debut. Doesn’t happen often.
What goes wrong? In part, The Bone Clocks falls apart in the same way all supernatural and horror stories fall apart: It shows the monster, and once it shows the . . . continue reading, and add your comments
There are a lot of really obvious takes on this that you are probably already thinking of. To me, the interesting/scary thing about this is that we have lots and lots of people in this country who seem unable to understand that one might write a work of fiction for any reason other than wish-fulfillment. That, plus, um, all the movies about mass shootings?
A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Maryland, middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—”taken in for an emergency medical evaluation” for publishing, under a pseudonym, a . . . continue reading, and add your comments
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.