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.


  • Nostalgia June 15, 2014
    Few habits are as prone to affliction, or as vulnerable to an ordeal, as the bent of a peddler’s consciousness. Placeless, the peddler completes an untold number of transactions; there are ideas to conduct (through language, which can transact a mind) and feelings to certify (through tasks, repeated interminably). […]
  • 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
    The premise of Yasushi Inoue's debut novella Bullfight, celebrated in Japan as a classic of postwar literature, is unassuming enough: an evening newspaper sponsors a tournament of the regional sport of bull-sumo. As practical and financial issues arise, the paper's young editor-in-chief, Tsugami, soon realizes he has taken on more than he can handl […]
  • Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones June 15, 2014
    Sworn Virgin was made to be translated. Elvira Dones wrote this book not in her native language of Albanian but in Italian—a necessarily fraught and complicated decision. In an Italian-language interview with Pierre Lepori, Dones speaks about her choice of language: “Sworn Virgin was born in Italian . . . I’ve lived using Italian for nineteen years, it has s […]
  • 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
    Storm Still (Immer Noch Sturm) does not necessarily represent new terrain for Handke. Originally published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 2010 and now available for English-language readers thanks to Martin Chalmers’ fluent translation, the play chronicles the dissolution of the Svinec family, a family of Carinthian Slovenes—a quasi-fictionalized version of Handke’s […]
  • Red or Dead by David Peace June 15, 2014
    David Peace's novel Red or Dead is about British football, but it partakes in the traits of Homer's epic. This is a novel about the place of myth and heroes in modern society, about how the cyclical rhythms of athletic seasons reflect the cyclical patterns of life. It is a book about honor and fate, and one which bridges the profound, dreamlike ter […]

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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