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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

Shop though these links = Support this site


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.


  • A Treatise on Shelling Beans by Wiesław Myśliwski March 9, 2014
    A man enters a house and asks to buy some beans, but we aren’t given his question, only the response: humble surprise from the narrator and an invitation inside. This modesty, though it remains at the core of the narrator throughout, is quickly overwhelmed when his questions, his welcoming explanations, flow into an effort to tell his whole life story, from […]
  • The Gorgeous Nothings by Emily Dickinson, edited by Marta Werner and Jen Bervin March 9, 2014
    The Gorgeous Nothings, the dedicated work of visual artist Jen Bervin and author Marta Werner, presents in large format the first full-color publication of all fifty-two of Emily Dickinson’s envelope writings. As such, it opens up an aspect of her craft that suggests she was, in the so-called late ecstatic period of her career, experimenting with creating te […]
  • The Mehlis Report by Rabee Jaber March 9, 2014
    The Mehlis Report follows the architect Saman Yarid on his daily perambulations around Lebanon's capital, where his memories of the city's past and his observations of the high-rises that have emerged from the ruins of the nation's civil war dominate the faint plot. But the book transcends Beirut: Jaber writes about what is left behind when pe […]
  • The Fiddler of Driskill Hill by David Middleton March 9, 2014
    Middleton’s sensibility as poet and man is thoroughly Christian, Southern (or rather, Louisianan), and traditional, but he’s no unreconstructed romantic Rebel reliving the Civil War. His manner is meditative and elegiac, not rancorous or redneck. In a rare useful blurb on the back of the book, the North Carolina poet and novelist Fred Chappell describes Midd […]
  • The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell March 9, 2014
    After The Kindly Ones, the nine hundred-page long Goncourt Prize-winning “autobiography” of a Nazi, fans of the Franco-American writer Jonathan Littell may heave an inward sigh of relief at the sight of The Fata Morgana Books. A slim collection of “studies” (as some of these stories were called in their original French incarnations), The Fata Morgana Books n […]
  • Novelty: A History of the New by Michael North March 9, 2014
    There is no better way to ensure the early demise of a form or a style than to proclaim its newness; fewer epithets are as old as “new.” A well-known work by Italian artist Maurizio Nannucci reads, “All art has been contemporary”—we may wish to amend it, for present purposes, and have it read, “All art has been new.” Yet surely this is something of a truism. […]
  • A Life Among Invented Characters: A Tribute to Mavis Gallant March 9, 2014
    Two things immediately come to mind when remembering Mavis Gallant: her unique sense of humor—stories always told with a wry half-smile—and her near-comical stonewalling when confronted with leading questions about her craft in interviews and with audiences. The first time I was in her simple three-room apartment on rue Jean Ferrandi, a mere three blocks fro […]
  • The Guy Davenport Reader March 9, 2014
    Poet-critic. Think of that word, made of two—what a beaux construction. The first is wild, hair mussed, looking at a bird in a tree—yet the follower is practical, urbane, and seemingly obeisant to word counts. Together they bleach out the fusspot academic and appeal to logos—Davenport once said that he was “not writing for scholars or critics, but for people […]
  • [SIC] by Davis Schneiderman March 9, 2014
    In 2011 Andrew Gallix, in the Guardian, wrote a piece on unread difficult books, and mentioned “an anthology of blank books [edited by Michael Gibbs] entitled All Or Nothing,” and we can consider Blank as continuing that line. Kenneth Goldsmith’s prefatory essay “Why Conceptual Writing? Why Now?” in Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (201 […]
  • The Ben Marcus Interview March 9, 2014
    I do tend to generate a lot of pages when I’m drafting something, and I cut as I go. I make strange noises out of my face, on the page, and they are for the most part not worth keeping. Some of the stories don’t take shape until I overwrite and pursue every cursed dead-end I can think of, which clarifies everything I don’t want the story to become. But I don […]

Editors’ Picks for 2013: La Tempestad

Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the picks in this series, click here.

LA TEMPESTAD

Mexico City

Click here for information about the latest issue

Nicolás Cabral, Edi­to­r-in-Chief

Kingdom Tetralogy by Gonçalo M. Tavares

One of the greatest achievements of 21st century narrative: Um Homem: Klaus Klump (2003), Joseph Walser’s Machine (2004), Jerusalem (2004), and Learning to Pray in the Age of Technique (2007). The last three were published in English by Dalkey Archive Press.

After the Future by Franco Berardi Bifo

A lucid exploration of the century-long obsession with “the future” by the indispensable Italian thinker. Published in English by AK Press (2011).

Der Briefwechsel Thomas Bernhard/Siegfried Unseld [Correspondence]

Originally published in German in 2009, the letters of Bernhard and his editor, written between 1961 and 1988, are a great testimony of a peculiar relationship. A selection was published in Spanish by Cómplices Editorial as Correspondencia (2012). [English rights for this title have been sold to Seagull.]

No tendrás rostro by David Miklos

A post-apocalyptic novel by one of the finest prose writers of Mexican contemporary literature. Published in Spanish by Tusquets Editores (2013).

Palas by Ricardo Cázares

Cázares is a creative reader of the American tradition that includes Pound, Williams or Olson. This innovative long poem was published by Aldus in 2013, in Spanish.

La fila india by Antonio Ortuño

Precise and sharp, this novel portrays the brutality of Mexico’s southern border. Ortuño at his highest moment. Published in Spanish by Océano (2013).

Guillermo Núñez Jáuregui, Editor

Ladrilleros by Selva Almada

The second book by Almada focuses on the interwoven lives of a couple of brick-makers, Elvio Miranda and Oscar Tamai, and the small war that they–and their families–are in. Almada’s style may seem, at first, realistic, traditional; however, there is a slight and disconcerting movement in its atomic form.

Una belleza vulgar by Damián Tabarovksy

A leaf in the wind: it is, as the title implies, a vulgar kind of beauty. The leaf falls to the ground. The wind lifts is over the streets of a middle-class neighborhood in Buenos Aires, taking the narration from convenience stores to restaurants and the small lives of people inhabiting cramped apartments, until the leaf is finally carried away. This is an unaffected novel, utterly unconcerned with the way it will be read. Tabarovksy, the editor of Mardulce, is also the author of the essay Literatura de izquierda.

Gallinas de madera by Mario Bellatin

The work of Alain Robbe-Grillet and Bohumil Hrabal is “read” by Bellatin in this book, composed by two novellas (just as he “read” Kafka’s aphorisms in his previous book, El libro uruguayo de los muertos). Neither psychological nor autobiographical motivations are discernible in this book. Its anecdotes are impoverished, and we are confronted solely by procedure.

Qué hacer by Pablo Katchadjian

This brief novella was published in 2010 by the Argentinian small press Bajo la luna. It evokes the curious narratives of dreams–or of the narrator who tries to relate a series of dreams. Like the recent works of Aira or Bellatin, Qué hacer focuses particularly on the process of writing.

Tu materia son los huesos by Andrés Téllez Parra

Narco-literature (where the spirit of journalism and realism is well and alive) is not the only way writers have approached the violent climate of contemporary Mexico. Others, like David Miklos and his No tendrás rostro or Yuri Herrera, have been more inventive and imaginative, with a closer attention to the historical continuity of violence (it’s no wonder that biblical language–lyrical and ambiguous–is recurrent in many such titles). Andrés Téllez Parra’s first novel takes us to a place that resembles that space, where the language of violence is familiar and, at the same time, distant yet haunting, like a specter.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Editors’ Picks for 2013: Schreibheft Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the...
  2. Editors’ Picks for 2013: The White Review Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the...
  3. Editors’ Picks for 2013: Vagant Daniel Medin, Senior Editor of The Quarterly Conversation, has compiled favorite reads of 2013 from a number of international literary magazines. To read all the...
  4. Los enamoramientos in English in 2013 Looks the the latest Javier Marias novel, Los enamoramientos, will be available in English in 2013: An odd piece of work at IberoSphere, where Nick...
  5. TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Colin Marshall We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Colin Marshall, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly...

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