Interesting essay at The Point on Subtle Bodies, the latest Norman Rush novel.
I get where Charles Finch is coming from (Mortals was a bit of a slog in places), and I agree with what he’s saying—Rush’s observations are awesome—but I have to put in one big caveat. Mating was as riveting as they come.
On those first and third levels of the art of the novel, Rush is only an equivocal and intermittent master. Passages of his books, particularly Mortals, are beautifully plotted, but none of them could be called compulsive from first . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Nice review here of Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s The Bill, which has been published in a stand-alone chapbook edition by Sylph Editions.
Apart from being much shorter than most of his other works (including the under-40 page Animalinside , another Sylph Editions production, with artwork by Max Neumann), The Bill appears lighter in mood than his other works. It addresses the creation of art works by the sixteenth-century Venetian painter Palma Vecchio (c. 1480-1528; he is also known as Iacopo Negretti), four of which are reproduced in part, with wry humour and suspicion, in one long sentence that, complete . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I’ve been hearing good things about Laidlaw by William McIlvanney, and I know that Europa is pushing this one hard. It’s a re-issue of the first volume (two and three forthcoming, I assume) of what is supposedly the greatest Scottish crime trilogy ever written. Not too much coverage Stateside, bu thte UK liked it.
Jack Laidlaw himself is a romanticised figure, like most of the best fictional policemen. Of a philosophic turn of mind — he keeps ‘Kierkegaard, Camus and Unamuno’ in a locked drawer of his desk, ‘like caches of alcohol’ — he believes in doubt. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Georges Perec’s I Remember is publishing soon in an English translation for the first time ever. 3:AM Magazine offers a review and comes up with an opportunity for you to participate in the book:
Perec’s sense of disappearing human experience is wrapped up both in the socio-cultural sum, and the fleeting, individual, personal human interactions that punctuate the quotidian drift. Shared jokes, schoolyard games, a meal prepared by an aunt. His texts predicate on, he writes, the “overlooked commonplace” that is always in the process of evaporating; the very things that reassure us we are living.
This . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Good to remember.
Bezos decided to break away from Shaw to start a prototype, but he “concluded that a true everything store would be impractical—at least at the beginning.” He therefore analyzed twenty possible product categories for his new company, including clothes, software, music, and office supplies. According to the principles of mathematics, physics, and finance Bezos applied, books were the best choice. They were “pure commodities” in the sense that a book in one store was exactly the same as a book in another. They were easy to pack and hard to damage. And “there were three . . . continue reading, and add your comments
On July 23 I’m going to be leading a discussion of My Struggle Vol I at Diesel Bookstore in Oakland. I think the idea is to do Vols 2 & 3 down the line. If you’re in the area, drop by and enjoy the Knausgaardia.
A Naked Singularity is now doing well in the UK. Overall a pretty interesting article, although it’s lame to pigeonhole the book as a blistering attack on the US criminal justice system.
In 2013 University of Chicago published De la Pava’s follow-up, the fragmentary and experimental Personae, much of which is made up of the imaginative writings of a character who has died alone, aged 111, in his Manhattan flat. Last year publisher Christopher MacLehose (who introduced the English-speaking world to Stieg Larsson) also brought out a British edition of A Naked Singularity following a tip from . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Remember Knausgaard? Norwegian, tall, good looking, wrote this really really long book about himself. About 3 weeks ago he was everywhere.
Anyway, if you recall him and wonder where he’s been since then, well, now he’s on Bookworm with Michael Silverblatt.
Excellent essay by David Auerbach.
Literature has reason to be embarrassed next to music. Music was quite forwardlooking when it came to technology. Composers like George Antheil had been working with electronics from at least the 1920s – possibly earlier if some of his eccentric mechanical monstrosities count. Today composers and performers regularly use laptops with signal-processing software more powerful than anything studio professionals could use twenty years ago. Landmarks such as Xenakis’ La Legende d’Eer, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte and Telemusik, Pauline Oliveros’ Bye Bye Butterfly, James Tenney’s Collage #1 (“Blue Suede”), and the oeuvres of Pierre Schaeffer, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
In the NYRB.
Marías likes murder. While he has translated Sterne, Faulkner, and Nabokov into Spanish and learned a great deal from them on the way, he has also translated Stevenson, Kipling, and Conrad. Thus the yarn—the adventure story told at length that holds the audience—belongs to him as much as any set of playful narrative voices. At the heart of the trilogy Your Face Tomorrow is a spy story. His novel A Heart So White, which, at one level, is a murder story, may be his best work to date because it offers an ingenious balance between . . . continue reading, and add your comments