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.

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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.


  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante September 16, 2014
    Few novelists have captured the rhythms and flow of life with the veracity of Elena Ferrante in her Neapolitan Novels. Following the friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo from childhood to old age, the tetralogy spans fifty years; over the course of that time, no emotion is too small, too dark, too banal to be recorded. No expense, so to speak, is […]
  • Trieste by Daša Drndić September 15, 2014
    As Drndić reiterates throughout the novel, “Behind every name there is a story.” And Haya Tedeschi’s story is draped in death. Born to a Jewish family that converted to Catholicism and tacitly supported the Fascists in Italy, Haya was a bystander to the Holocaust. She attended movies while Jews and partisans were transported to concentration camps; she pored […]
  • The Tree With No Name by Drago Jančar September 15, 2014
    At the opening of chapter 87—the first chapter found in The Tree with No Name—Janez Lipnik finds himself up a tree, shoeless, and lost in the Slovenian countryside. He makes his way to a house where he is taken in by a woman teacher who is waiting for her lover, a soldier. It becomes clear we are at the height of World War II. Soon after, we follow Lipnik […]
  • Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories September 15, 2014
    Here, at the midpoint of his narrative, Bernhard, the affectless and purposeless protagonist of "The Unseen," experiences existential near-emancipation at dusk. This retreat toward obscurity in terse, direct language—thematic and stylistic markers of each work in the collection—comes immediately after Bernhard’s sister mentions her plans to enterta […]
  • Berlin Now by Peter Schneider September 15, 2014
    In his new book of essays, Berlin Now, Peter Schneider reveals himself as a gnarled Cold Warrior who has been stricken with many of the maladies common to his generation. With the specter of Communism exorcized, his new enemy is Islam. The book is a collection of short interlocking pieces introducing Anglophone readers to Berlin; it is not being published in […]
  • Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente September 15, 2014
    In 1999, Marcos Giralt Torrente’s debut novel, Paris, was awarded the XVII Premio Herralde de Novela prize. Despite his success, it took fourteen years for Giralt’s work to appear in English, with the story collection The End of Love arriving in 2013. Now, this year sees the publication of two more books by Giralt: Paris, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, a […]
  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner September 15, 2014
    “It seemed that the [New Yorker] story—which was in part the result of my dealing with the reception of my novel—had been much more widely received than the novel itself,” says the narrator of Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04. Perhaps this narrator is Lerner himself—at one point he describes 10:04, within its own pages, as “neither fiction nor nonfiction but […]
  • Theories of Forgetting by Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen’s Theories of Forgetting is a masterful work structured around Robert Smithson’s earthwork “The Spiral Jetty.” Olsen’s novel is comprised of three narrations, written each by a separate member of a family. The husband’s and wife’s texts progress in opposite directions across the book, with each page divided among these two inverted texts; though […]
  • An Interview with Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    The most substantial may be that innovative fiction knows what it is, that someone like me could define it in any productive way, that innovative fiction might somehow be one thing, or somehow consistent through time and space. None of these is the case. That’s exactly what I find most exciting about writing it, reading it, thinking about it. Innovative fict […]
  • The Ants by Sawako Nakayasu September 15, 2014
    In The Ants, we receive a study of existence through ants. That is, there are ants everywhere, ants substituted in every segment of the landscape, yet their behavior seems to reveal something altogether human. Too human. The ants are crushed and disappointed. They are warm and many. They are involved in gang wars and live inside carrot cake. The unique quali […]

Essay By Karl Ove Knausgaard

Eurozine has what looks to be a post-My Struggle essay by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Despite declaring My Struggle to be his end as an author, he published a book of essays after it and looks to still be writing . . .

The job of literary editor is practised under a kind of shadow cast by the author’s name. Though some editors have emerged from the sidelines, they tend to be thought of as notorious rather than famous because “editor” and “famous” are somehow inherently incompatible concepts – a contradiction in terms. Gordon Lish is a case in point: among other tasks, he was Raymond Carver’s editor and became known as “Captain Fiction”. Hemingway’s editor, Maxwell Perkins, who A. Scott Berg dubbed “Editor of Genius”, is another example. One of the best-known editorial interventions ever was made by Ezra Pound, although he was of course not really an editor but the one who scrutinized, in his capacity as a friend, an early version of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and pruned it ruthlessly until he achieved the format we know now.

Gordon Lish’s style as an editor was just as independent and uncompromising. His editing actually created the language we now believe to be Carver’s and which undoubtedly contributed to making his name as a writer, even though the author himself felt ambivalent about it. The difference was there for all to see when Carver’s own manuscripts were published posthumously and his padded, fluid stories seemed almost unrecognizable. There can be no real argument about the conclusion that the editor’s Carver was an improvement on Carver’s Carver. How did that make Carver feel when he was awarded prizes and praise for being the great new name in American literature, one wonders? The example is interesting, because if the job of the editor is to influence matters for the sake of the book and not for his own benefit, nor even the author’s, then it can be argued that Lish went too far; but relative to what? Given that the book became much better, is the damage done to the author’s self-esteem really so important? Without Lish, Carver’s books would have been worse and he would have been regarded as a middling, rather than a brilliant, writer. This fact leads one to question what an author is – and where the boundaries lie between the writer, the world around him and his book. . . .

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  1. Lish’d Unfortunately, it’s not enough for literary writers like Lish to simply be great, innovative artists. They need to be linked to something “important” before they...
  2. Karl Kraus as Tedious Indictment of the Internet I really hope that Andrew Winer’s review of The Kraus Project in the LARB isn’t indicative of either, 1) the content of Franzen/Kraus’s book, or...
  3. Gert Jonke Essay And Stories Last year I read Homage to Czerny (Google Book text here) by Austrian writer Gert Jonke for the Best Translated Book Award. It wasn't quite...
  4. In the Country of Last Things, Review/Essay Every now and then I’d like to post a little something about a book I recently read. I’m not sure if these are reviews or...
  5. My Essay on My Two Worlds The Critical Flame has just published my essay on Sergio Chejfec’s My Two Worlds. Here it is. My Two Worlds is a dance, a seduction...

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