The End of Oulipo?

The End of Oulipo? My book (co-authored with Lauren Elkin), published by Zero Books. Available everywhere. Order it from Amazon, or find it in bookstores nationwide. The End of Oulipo

Lady Chatterley’s Brother

Lady Chatterley's Brother. The first ebook in the new TQC Long Essays series, Lady Chatterley's Brothercalled “an exciting new project” by Chad Post of Open Letter and Three Percent. Why can't Nicholson Baker write about sex? And why can Javier Marias? We investigate why porn is a dead end, and why seduction paves the way for the sex writing of the future. Read an excerpt.

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and direct from this site:


Translate This Book!

Ever wonder what English is missing? Called "a fascinating Life Perecread" by The New Yorker, Translate This Book! brings together over 40 of the top translators, publishers, and authors to tell us what books need to be published in English. Get it on Kindle.

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Group Reads

The Tunnel

Fall Read: The Tunnel by William H. Gass

A group read of the book that either "engenders awe and despair" or "[goads] the reader with obscenity and bigotry," or both. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Naked Singularity

Summer Read: A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

Fans of Gaddis, Pynchon, DeLillo: A group read of the book that went from Xlibris to the University of Chicago Press. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Life Perec

Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec

Starting March 2011, read the greatest novel from an experimental master. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Last Samurai

Fall Read: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

A group read of one of the '00s most-lauded postmodern novels. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Tale of Genji

The Summer of Genji

Two great online lit magazines team up to read a mammoth court drama, the world's first novel.

Your Face Tomorrow

Your Face This Spring

A 3-month read of Javier Marias' mammoth book Your Face Tomorrow

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Ten Memorable Quotes from William Gaddis’ Letters

New Books
Here are ten of my favorite moments from these hugely interesting letters.


Interviews from Conversational Reading

New Books
See this page for interviews with leading authors, translators, publishers, and more.


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  • Why Literary Periods Mattered by Ted Underwood June 15, 2014
    There are some writers who are, and likely always will be, inextricably linked to the “period” with which their work is associated, and in many cases helped to define. Surely Wordsworth and Keats will always be “Romantic” poets, while Faulkner and Woolf will remain modernists, as the term “modern” has been fully appropriated to describe the historical era be […]
  • Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz June 15, 2014
    August 1939. You sail to Buenos Aires on the Chombry as a cultural ambassador of Poland. Why say no to a little holiday on the government’s tab? Soon after arriving you sense that something isn’t right. You emerge from a welcome reception and your ears are “filled with newspaper cries: ‘Polonia, Polonia,’ most irksome indeed.” Before you’ve even had a chance […]
  • Accepting the Disaster by Joshua Mehigan June 15, 2014
    The first collections of most young poets, even the better ones, carry with them a hint of bravado. Flush with recognition, vindicated by the encouraging attentions of at least one editor and three blurbists, the poet strikes a triumphant pose and high-fives the Muse: “We did it, baby.” When Joshua Mehigan published his impressive first collection, The Optim […]
  • The Histories of Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland June 15, 2014
    Two of the greatest of Tom Holland's predecessors in translating Herodotus are Victorian scholar George Rawlinson and Aubrey de Selincourt; the former translated Herodotus in 1860, making an enormous hit (despite the fact that its detractors often referred to it as “dull and prolix"), while the latter's 1954 Herodotus was another enormous hit, […]
  • Bullfight by Yasushi Inoue June 15, 2014
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  • On the Letters of David Markson June 15, 2014
    Knowing these narrators and how their lives paralleled David’s own, it’s difficult to deny his being a recluse. I certainly held that image of him, and nursed it, secretly cherishing it because it meant I was one of the few people with whom he corresponded, and with whom he would occasionally meet. Arranging our first meetings in person was something of a ni […]
  • Storm Still by Peter Handke June 15, 2014
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  • Red or Dead by David Peace June 15, 2014
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Clarice Lispector Coverage–Where’s the Beef?

I understand that Lorrie Moore's article in the NY Review is ostensibly covering a biography, but nonetheless I see six novels by Lispector below the title and two serious works of criticism about Lispector below those, and thus I develop certain expectations. That is, expectations for some textual and/or aesthetic analysis of Lispector's novels. (This is the New York Review, after all.) But that is in very short supply in this article.

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. And I don't mean this to be just a criticism of Moore. For some reason people have actually been talking about Clarice Lispector because of this biography. It seems that reviewers have gone out of their way to enthuse about great she is, and how under-appreciated she is in the U.S. That's nice and all, but damned if anyone has shown very much interest in engaging her books in these reviews. And thus I develop the sneaking suspicion that some of these people giving off the impression that they have read Lispector haven't. (Shocking, I know)

Completely by coincidence (I didn't know the biography was in the works when the essay was assigned) we've just published an essay on Lispector that does consider one of her works to a significant degree. So, if you find yourself in my position, give that a shot.

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3 comments to Clarice Lispector Coverage–Where’s the Beef?

  • I, too, (when I suggested and offered to try to do a essay on Clarice Lispector for The Quarterly Conversation months ago and Scott graciously accepted my proposal,) wasn’t aware of the recent biography. I am embarassed to admit so. I think I was more dismayed by Dwight Garner’s sardonic, flippant take on Lispector in the New York Times, though. Garner clearly never read her work but was mocking Lispector’s seriousness in ways that truly offended me, citing instances based her private psychology which I believe to be false. That kind of snide remarking and belitting of a writer without even considering her body of work pushes all my buttons and is really troubling. One would hope rather dismiss this wonderful biography The New York Times reviewer would support and applaud it for bringing an important and neglected writer to public awareness. And done so with humility, not ridicule.
    By way of suggestion and alternative, Philip Graham wrote a remarkably responsible and astute review of Mosley’s biography in THE NEW LEADER. I hope readers will find it. Phil also wrote me when this essay came out to tell me about his review of the biography which he thought very, very highly of. Phil’s recent articles in THE BELIEVER were about his year in Portugal and he has a really impressive take on Lispector who wrote in Portugese.
    Sorry if I sound so touchy, but it hurts when there is a writer of Lispector’s importance who gets such treatment in the “literary press”. I did, though, understand again why her work is difficult for people in the States, in Brazil she’s a national heroine, and she is lauded and celebrated all around the world, too.

  • Muzzy

    I can’t remember where I first heard about Lispector, probably read something online, mayby you, Snr. Esposito. So on August 12 I ordered The Passion According to G.H. from Amazon. To date, they still haven’t shipped it. In fact, they say they’re not sure exactly when they will ship it. I’m hoping this isn’t just incompetence on Amazon’s part.
    Which suggests to me that there’s enough demand out there for her books to sell out. Which tells me SOMEONE out there is reading Lispector.

  • Muzzy, I hope you receive it and enjoy her. There’s a wonderful one-line book store called BookDepository.com, run by Mark Thwaite where I’m sure, too, you can find her work just in case amazon doesn’t come through. It started in the UK but recently started up a branch in the States, (also they ship for free!)
    I think, too, there are more people here that do want to read her, and her books are hard to get hold of and find.

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