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

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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

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Interviews from Conversational Reading

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


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Hooray for USA

Surprisingly enough, John Dos Passos’s USA Trilogy was the 15th-best-selling title in the Library of America series, out of some 240 titles. He’s right up there with Tennessee Williams, Dashiell Hammett, James Baldwin, and Walt Whitman.

Also of note: Dos Passos didn’t even make the top 15 last year, so maybe there’s a resurgence of interest?

I’m guessing he got a bit of a boost because there’s no other handy, one-volume edition of the trilogy on the market, while many other LOA authors are readily available in much cheaper editions, but still. Impressive.

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4 comments to Hooray for USA

  • I’d like to think that sensible readers became united in their contempt for cut-and-paste Philistines like Ted Gioia. :) But you raise an interesting point, Scott. Are people drawn to Dos Passos not only because it is a snazzy single volume to bide vast chunks of time, but because they are looking for some fictional epic which explains how our nation went off the rails? Where is America’s answer to Marias or Knausgaard?

  • admin

    Hey Ed,

    Speaking for myself, I got my copy of USA as a single volume, but I had to go to the UK to do it! I do much prefer that to having the three separate volumes.

    “Where is America’s answer to Marias or Knausgaard?” is a very good question. It’s one I’ve asked myself at various points, and I’m not sure there’s a good answer . . .

  • David Long

    The Trilogy still awaits me . . . but I want to put in a plug for MANHATTAN TRANSFER, which contains some really fine writing. Here’s a tiny taste:

    Once out on Broadway again she felt very merry. She stood in the middle of the street waiting for the uptown car. An occasional taxi whizzed by her. From the river on the warm wind came the long moan of a steamboat whistle. In the pit inside her thousands of gnomes were building tall brittle glittering towers. The car swooped ringing along the rails, stopped. As she climbed in she remembered the smell of Stan’s body sweating in her arms. She let herself drop into a seat, biting her lips to keep from crying out. God it’s terrible to be in love. Opposite two men with chinless bluefish faces were talking hilariously, slapping fat knees.

    IN THE PIT INSIDE HER THOUSANDS OF GNOMES WERE BUILDING TALL BRITTLE GLITTERING TOWERS. Woman on the street after sex. Wow.

  • I know I’ve long appreciated the hell out of the trilogy. I understand it doesn’t quite accomplish what it sets out to do, but it fulfills a promise of American literature very few other books have, plus the chunked journalism and mini-bios combine for a project our writers have fled from, either into the onanism of Roth and Updike, the confused paranoia of DeLillo and Pynchon, or the dirty miniatures of Raymond Carver.

    You really don’t have this anymore, and I think we need it. I’m a bit irked how few editions have the Reginald Marsh illustrations, however.

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