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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.

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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.


  • 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 […]

Interesting New Books — 2012

Note: publishers change their schedules a lot. Release dates can and will change.

January


The Break by Pietro Grossi


Release date: January 1
Publisher: Pushkin Press



The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq


Release date: January 3
Publisher: Knopf



Religio Medici and Urne-Burial by Sir Thomas Browne


Release date: January 10
Publisher: NYRB Classics



The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus


Release date: January 17
Publisher: Knopf



Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts by William H. Gass


Release date: January 17
Publisher: Knopf

It begins with the personal, both past and present, emphasizing Gass’s lifelong attachment to books, and moves on to the more analytical as he ponders the work of some of his favorite writers, their themes, and their lives (among them Kafka, Nietzsche, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, and Proust), and a few topics equally burning but less loved (Knut Hamsun; the Holocaust). He then focuses on form and metaphor, and finally, ponders more theoretical matters connected with literature, specifically one of its genetic parts–the sentence.


Berlin Stories by Robert Walser


Release date: January 24
Publisher: NYRB Classics

In 1905 the young Swiss writer Robert Walser arrived in Berlin to join his older brother Karl, already an important stage-set designer, and immediately threw himself into the vibrant social and cultural life of the city. Berlin Stories collects his alternately celebratory, droll, and satirical observations on every aspect of the bustling German capital, from its theaters, cabarets, painters’ galleries, and literary salons, to the metropolitan street, markets, the Tiergarten, rapid-service restaurants, and the electric tram. Originally appearing in literary magazines as well as the feuilleton sections of newspapers, the early stories are characterized by a joyous urgency and the generosity of an unconventional guide. Later pieces take the form of more personal reflections on the writing process, memories, and character studies. All are full of counter-intuitive images and vignettes of startling clarity, showcasing a unique talent for whom no detail was trivial, at grips with a city diving headlong into modernity.


Pale Blue Ink in a Lady’s Hand by Franz Werfel


Release date: January 31
Publisher: Godine



The Forty Days of Musa Dagh by Franz Werfel


Release date: January 31
Publisher: Godine


February


Varamo by Cesar Aira


Release date: February
Publisher: New Directions



Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai


Release date: February
Publisher: New Directions



What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories by Nathan Englander


Release date: February 7
Publisher: Knopf



Men in Space by Tom McCarthy


Release date: February 14
Publisher: Vintage



Prehistoric Times by Eric Chevillard


Release date: February 14
Publisher: Archipelago Books



Mathematique by Jacques Roubaud


Release date: February 14
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press



Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room by Geoff Dyer


Release date: February 21
Publisher: Pantheon



Dogma by Lars Iyer


Release date: February 21
Publisher: Melville House



The Lifespan of a Fact by John D’Agata


Release date: February 27
Publisher: Norton

How negotiable is a fact in nonfiction? In 2003, an essay by John D’Agata was rejected by the magazine that commissioned it due to factual inaccuracies. That essay—which eventually became the foundation of D’Agata’s critically acclaimed About a Mountain—was accepted by another magazine, The Believer, but not before they handed it to their own fact-checker, Jim Fingal. What resulted from that assignment was seven years of arguments, negotiations, and revisions as D’Agata and Fingal struggled to navigate the boundaries of literary nonfiction. This book reproduces D’Agata’s essay, along with D’Agata and Fingal’s extensive correspondence. What emerges is a brilliant and eye-opening meditation on the relationship between “truth” and “accuracy” and a penetrating conversation about whether it is appropriate for a writer to substitute one for the other.

March


Autoportrait by Edouard Leve


Release date: March
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press

In this brilliant and sobering self-portrait, Edouard Levé hides nothing from his readers, setting out his entire life, more or less at random, in a string of declarative sentences. Autoportrait is a physical, psychological, sexual, political, and philosophical triumph. Beyond “sincerity,” Levé works toward an objectivity so radical it could pass for crudeness, triviality, even banality: the author has stripped himself bare. With the force of a set of maxims or morals, Levé’s prose seems at first to be an autobiography without sentiment, as though written by a machine—until, through the accumulation of detail, and the author’s dry, quizzical tone, we find ourselves disarmed, enthralled, and enraptured by nothing less than the perfect fiction . . . made entirely of facts.


The Sickness by Alberto Barrera Tyszka


Release date: March 13
Publisher: Tin House

Dr. Miranda is faced with a tragedy: his father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has only a few weeks to live. He is also faced with a dilemma: How does one tell his father he is dying? Ernesto Duran, a patient of Dr. Miranda’s, is convinced he is sick. Ever since he separated from his wife he has been presenting symptoms of an illness he believes is killing him. It becomes an obsession far exceeding hypochondria. The fixation, in turn, has its own creeping effect on Miranda’s secretary, who cannot, despite her best intentions, resist compassion for the man. A profound and philosophical exploration of the nature and meaning of illness, Alberto Barrera Tyszka’s tender, refined novel interweaves the stories of four individuals as they try, in their own way, to come to terms with sickness in all its ubiquity.


Harlequin’s Millions by Bohumil Hrabal


Release date: March 13
Publisher: Archipelago Books

In this moving, absorbing novel, we meet the eccentric residents of a home for the elderly who reminisce about their lives and their changing country. Written with a keen eye for the absurd and peppered with dialogue that captures the poignancy of the everyday, Harlequin’s Millions is a sensual delight.


The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir by Claude Lanzmann


Release date: March 13
Publisher: FSG

Born to a Jewish family in Paris in 1925, Claude Lanzmann’s first encounter with radicalism was as part of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation. He and his father were soldiers of the underground until the end of the war, smuggling arms and making raids on the German army. After the liberation of France, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, making money by dressing as a priest and collecting donations and by stealing books from bookshops. It was in Paris that he met Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. It was a life-changing meeting. The young Lanzmann began a seven-year affair with the older de Beauvoir. He became the editor of Sartre’s political-literary journal, Les Temps Modernes—a position that he holds to this day—and came to know the most important literary and philosophical figures of postwar France. And all this before he was thirty years old. Written in precise, rich prose of rare beauty, organized—like human memory—in interconnected fragments that eschew conventional chronology, and describing in detail the making of his seminal film Shoah, The Patagonian Hare is a work of art, more significant and more ambitious than mere memoir. In it, Lanzmann has created a love song to life balanced by the eye of a true auteur.

April


Conversations with David Foster Wallace


Release date: April 1
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi



Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems, 1964-2001 by W.G. Sebald


Release date: April 3
Publisher: Random House

Skillfully translated by Iain Galbraith, the nearly one hundred poems in Across the Land and the Water range from those Sebald wrote as a student in the sixties to those completed right before his untimely death in 2001. Featuring eighty-eight poems published in English for the first time and thirty-three from unpublished manuscripts, this collection also brings together all the verse he placed in books and journals during his lifetime. Here are Sebald’s trademark themes—from nature and history (“Events of war within/a life cracks/across the Order of the World/spreading from Cassiopeia/a diffuse pain reaching into/the upturned leaves on the trees”), to wandering and wondering (“I have even begun/to speak in foreign tongues/roaming like a nomad in my own/town . . .”), to oblivion and memory (“If you knew every cranny/of my heart/you would yet be ignorant/of the pain my happy/memories bring”).


As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980 by Susan Sontag


Release date: April 10
Publisher: FSG

This, the second of three volumes of Susan Sontag’s journals and notebooks, begins where the first volume left off, in the middle of the 1960s. It traces and documents Sontag’s evolution from fledgling participant in the artistic and intellectual world of New York City to world-renowned critic and dominant force in the world of ideas with the publication of the groundbreaking Against Interpretation in 1966.


Reticence by Jean-Philippe Toussaint


Release date: April 10
Publisher: Dalkey Archive

“A little thing happened to me. Which could have just as easily happened to you. You’re on vacation in a hotel with your son in a small village and you’re about to go see some friends, but something holds you back, a mysterious reticence that prevents you from going to find them. Here is the novel of this reticence, small and specific, and of the fears that it instigates, little by little. Because not only are your friends not there when you do decide to go find them, but, several days later, you find a dead cat in the harbor, a black cat floating in front of you on the water . . .” In Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s take on the detective novel, we find a man on vacation in a tiny village, where a writer named Biaggi appears to be keeping him under surveillance. To what end? Ah, but it’s far more pleasant to enjoy the Mediterranean night air than to look for answers, make deductions, or get upset—isn’t it?


The Secret of Evil by Roberto Bolano


Release date: April 17
Publisher: New Directions

A collection that gathers everything Bolaño was working on before his untimely death. A North American journalist in Paris is woken at 4 a.m. by a mysterious caller with urgent information. For V. S. Naipaul the prevalence of sodomy in Argentina is a symptom of the nation’s political ills. Daniela de Montecristo (familiar to readers of Nazi Literature in the Americas and 2666) recounts the loss of her virginity. Arturo Belano returns to Mexico City and meets the last disciples of Ulises Lima, who play in a band called The Asshole of Morelos. Belano’s son Gerónimo disappears in Berlin during the Days of Chaos in 2005. Memories of a return to the native land. Argentine writers as gangsters. Zombie schlock as allegory . . .


Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature by Daniel Levin Becker


Release date: April 24
Publisher: Harvard University Press

The youngest member of the Paris-based experimental collective Oulipo, Levin Becker tells the story of one of literature’s quirkiest movements—and the personal quest that led him to seek out like-minded writers, artists, and scientists who are obsessed with language and games, and who embrace formal constraints to achieve literature’s potential.


May


Antigonick by Anne Carson


Release date: May 10
Publisher: New Directions

With text blocks hand-inked on the page by Anne Carson and her collaborator Robert Currie, Antigonick features translucent vellum pages with stunning drawings by Bianca Stone that overlay the text. Anne Carson has published translations of the ancient Greek poets Sappho, Simonides, Aiskhylos, Sophokles and Euripides. Antigonick is her first attempt at making translation into a combined visual and textual experience. Sophokles’ luminous and disturbing tragedy is here given an entirely fresh language and presentation. Thoroughly delightful.


Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism by Slavoj Zizek


Release date: May 22
Publisher: Verso

Today, as global capitalism comes apart at the seams, we are entering a new transition. In Less Than Nothing, the pinnacle publication of a distinguished career, Slavoj Žižek argues that it is imperative that we not simply return to Hegel but that we repeat and exceed his triumphs,overcoming his limitations by being even more Hegelian than the master himself. Such an approach not only enables Žižek to diagnose our present condition, but also to engage in a critical dialogue with the key strands of contemporary thought—Heidegger, Badiou, speculative realism, quantum physics and cognitive sciences. Modernity will begin and end with Hegel.


The Intellectual and His People: Staging the People Volume 2 (Vol. 2) by Jacques Rancière


Release date: May 30
Publisher: Verso

Following the previous volume of essays by Jacques Rancière from the 1970s, Staging the People: The Proletarian and His Double, this second collection focuses on the ways in which radical philosophers understand the people they profess to speak for. The Intellectual and His People engages in an incisive and original way with current political and cultural issues, including the “discovery” of totalitarianism by the “new philosophers,” the relationship of Sartre and Foucault to popular struggles, nostalgia for the ebbing world of the factory, the slippage of the artistic avant-garde into defending corporate privilege, and the ambiguous sociological critique of Pierre Bourdieu. As ever, Rancière challenges all patterns of thought in which one-time radicalism has become empty convention.


Reverberations: The Philosophy, Aesthetics and Politics of Noise


Release date: May 31
Publisher: Continuum

A groundbreaking collection that studies noise not merely as a sonic phenomenon but as an essential component of all communication and information systems.


The Legacy of David Foster Wallace, edited by Samuel Cohen and Lee Konstantinou


Release date: May 31
Publisher: University of Iowa Press


June


Brenner and God by Wolf Haas


Release date: June 5
Publisher: Melville House Press

Wolf Haas’ Detective Brenner series has become wildly popular around the world for a reason: They’re timely, edgy stories told in a wry, quirky voice that’s often hilarious, and with a protagonist it’s hard not to love. In this episode, Brenner—forced out of the police force—tries to get away from detective work by taking a job as the personal chauffeur for two-year-old Helena, the daughter of a Munich construction giant and a Viennese abortion doctor. One day, while Brenner’s attention is turned to picking out a chocolate bar for Helena at a gas station, Helena gets snatched from the car. Abruptly out of a job, Brenner decides to investigate her disappearance on his own. With both parents in the public eye, there’s no scarcity of leads—the father’s latest development project has spurred public protest, and the mother’s clinic has been targeted by the zealous leader of an anti-abortion group. Brenner and God is told with a dark humor that leaves no character, including Brenner, unscathed. Haas tells the story of a fallible hero who can be indecisive and world-weary, baffled and disillusioned by what he finds, but who presses forward nonetheless out of a stubborn sense of decency—a two-year-old is kidnapped, so you find her, because that’s just what you do.


The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa


Release date: June 5
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In 1916, the Irish nationalist Roger Casement was hanged by the British government for treason. Casement had dedicated his extraordinary life to improving plight of oppressed peoples around the world—especially the native populations in the Belgian Congo and the Amazon—but when he dared to draw a parallel between the injustices he witnessed in African and American colonies and those committed by the British in Northern Ireland, he became involved in a cause that led to his imprisonment and execution. Ultimately, the scandals surrounding Casement’s trial and eventual hanging tainted his image to such a degree that his pioneering human rights work wasn’t fully reexamined until the 1960s.


James Joyce: A New Biography by Gordon Bowker


Release date: June 5
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

James Joyce was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, but he was not immediately recognized as such. At twenty-two he chose a life of exile in cosmopolitan Europe in a bid to escape the suffocating atmosphere and parochial prejudices of his native Dublin. His life followed the classic “flight into exile” path taken by so many creative writers. His relationship with Nora Barnacle long aroused curious fascination, not least since—scandalously for the time—they lived together for twenty-seven years before marrying in 1931. Joyce’s unstinting dedication to authorship picks him out as a writer in the romantic tradition. He battled against poverty and financial dependency for much of his adult life. He suffered, too, the slings and arrows of uncomprehending critics. Ulysses, now widely regarded as the most innovative and influential of modernist texts, immediately ran into trouble with the censors of both Britain and America after it was published in Paris in 1922. Drawing on new material that has only recently come to light, Gordon Bowker’s biography ventures beyond the exterior life to explore the inner landscape of an extraordinary writer who continues to influence and fascinate over a century after his birth.


The Walk by Robert Walser


Release date: June 5
Publisher: New Directions



Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas


Release date: June 7
Publisher: New Directions

One night, a renowned and now retired literary publisher has a vivid dream that takes place in Dublin, a city he’s never visited. The central scene of the dream is a funeral in the era of Ulysses. The publisher would give anything to know if an unidentified character in his dream is the great author he always wanted to meet, or the ghostly angel who abandoned him during childhood. As the days go by, he will come to understand that his vision of the end of an era was prophetic. Enrique Vila-Matas traces a journey that connects the worlds of Joyce and Beckett, revealing the difficulties faced by literary authors, publishers, and good readers in a society where literature is losing influence. A robust work, Dublinesque is a masterwork of irony, humor, and erudition by one of Spain’s most celebrated living authors.


Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl by Tiqqun


Release date: June 8
Publisher: Semiotext(e)

First published in France in 1999, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl dissects the impossibility of love under Empire. The Young-Girl is consumer society’s total product and model citizen: whatever “type” of Young-Girl she may embody, whether by whim or concerted performance, she can only seduce by consuming. Filled with the language of French women’s magazines, rooted in Proust’s figure of Albertine and the amusing misery of (teenage) romance in Witold Gombrowicz’s Ferdydurke, and informed by Pierre Klossowski’s notion of “living currency” and libidinal economy, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl diagnoses — and makes visible — a phenomenon that is so ubiquitous as to have become transparent.


The Planets by Sergio Chejfec


Release date: June 12
Publisher: Open Letter

When he reads about a mysterious explosion in the distant countryside, the narrator’s thoughts turn to his disappeared childhood friend, M, who was abducted from his home years ago, during a spasm of political violence in Buenos Aires in the early 1970s. He convinces himself that M must have died in this explosion, and he begins to tell the story of their friendship through a series interconnected vignettes, hoping in this way to reanimate his friend and relive the time they spent together wandering the streets of Buenos Aires.


Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson


Release date: June 28
Publisher: Grove

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients—dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups—from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif—the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State’s electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover’s new fiancé is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen. With shades of Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, and The Thousand and One Nights, Alif the Unseen is a tour de force debut—a sophisticated melting pot of ideas, philosophy, religion, technology and spirituality smuggled inside an irresistible page-turner.

July


The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings by Alain Badiou


Release date: July 1
Publisher: Verso

In the uprisings of the Arab world, Alain Badiou discerns echoes of the European revolutions of 1848. In both cases, the object was to overthrow despotic regimes maintained by the great powers—regimes designed to impose the will of financial oligarchies. Both events occurred after what was commonly thought to be the end of a revolutionary epoch: in 1815, the final defeat of Napoleon; and in 1989, the fall of the Soviet Union. But the revolutions of 1848 proclaimed for a century and a half the return of revolutionary thought and action. Likewise, the uprisings underway today herald a worldwide resurgence in the liberating force of the masses—despite the attempts of the ‘international community’ to neutralize its power.


Inland by Gerlad Murnane


Release date: July 3
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press

Inland is a compact story—or group of stories, each nested within another—nonetheless opening onto a seemingly endless fractal geography, where the interior of Australia, the Midwestern prairie, and the Hungarian Alföld merge, imitate, and enfold one another in the mind of a man sitting alone in a room full of books. Perhaps the greatest novel by Gerald Murnane, Australia’s reply to Proust and Calvino, and a Nobel favorite for several years running, Inland shows that one can as easily be an exile in one’s own interior as out in the wide world, and as easily feel the loss of people one has only imagined as those who have shared our lives in the flesh.


Faction by Juan Filloy


Release date: July 10
Publisher: Dalkey Archive

The second of Argentinean eccentric Juan Filloy’s novels to be translated into English—after Op Oloop—Faction tells the story of seven erudite, homeless, and semi-incompetent radicals traveling from city to city in an attempt to foment a revolution: conspiring with striking workers, setting off bombs, and evading the local authorities. But this is no political thriller. Like his literary “descendant” Julio Cortázar—who mentions this book in Hopscotch—Filloy is far more concerned with his characters’ occasionally farcical inner lives than with their machinations. While the action might seem to have a fairly straight forward trajectory, the story meanders wherever it pleases, from the increasingly paranoid theories of its seven protagonists to the peculiar countermeasures taken by the regime they are trying to topple. With its almost encyclopedic feel,and its satirical look at both solidarity and nonconformity, Faction is considered to be among Filloy’s greatest achievements.


Ryszard Kapuscinski: A Life by Artur Domoslawski


Release date: July 10
Publisher: Verso

Reporting from such varied locations as postcolonial Africa, revolutionary Iran, the military dictatorships of Latin America and Soviet Russia, the Polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuściński was one of the most influential eyewitness journalists of the twentieth century. During the Cold War, he was a dauntless investigator as well as a towering literary talent, and books such as The Emperor and Travels with Herodotus founded the new genre of ‘literary reportage’. It was an achievement that brought him global renown, not to mention the uninvited attentions of the CIA.


The Future Is Not Ours edited by Diego Trelles Paz


Release date: July 17
Publisher: Open Letter

The Future Is Not Ours: New Latin American Fiction brings together twenty-three Latin American writers who were born between 1970 and 1980. The anthology offers an exciting overview of contemporary Spanish-language literature and introduces a generation of writers who came of age in the time of military dictatorships, witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, the birth of the Internet, the murders of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and the September 11th attacks in New York City.


Vlad by Carlos Fuentes


Release date: July 24
Publisher: Dalkey Archive

“Vlad” is Vlad the Impaler, of course, whose mythic cruelty was an inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In this sly sequel, Vlad really is undead: dispossessed after centuries of mayhem by Eastern European wars and rampant blood shortages. More than a postmodern riff on “the vampire craze,” Vlad is also an anatomy of the Mexican bourgeoisie, as well as our culture’s ways of dealing with death. For—as in Dracula—Vlad has need of both a lawyer and a real-estate agent in order to establish his new kingdom, and Yves Navarro and his wife Asunción fit the bill nicely. Having recently lost a son, might they not welcome the chance to see their remaining child live forever? More importantly, are the pleasures of middle-class life enough to keep one from joining the legions of the damned?

August


The Way the World Works: Essays by Nicholson Baker


Release date: August 7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster



The Lute and the Scars by Danilo Kis


Release date: August 21
Publisher: Dalkey Archive

Written between 1980 and 1986, the six stories that constitute The Lute and the Scars (as well as an untitled piece by the author, included here as “A and B”) were transcribed from the manuscripts left by Danilo Kiš following his death in 1989. Like the title story, many of these texts are autobiographical. Others resurrect protagonists belonging to Kiš’s fellow Central European novelists, allowing readers to identify, perhaps, depending on the level of obfuscation, fantasy,and historical accuracy, figures dreamed up by Ödön von Horváth and Endre Ady (“The Stateless”), by the Yugoslavian Nobel laureate Ivo Andrić (“Debt”), and by Piotr Rawicz.

September


Nice Weather: Poems by Frederick Seidel


Release date: September 4
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Frederick Seidel—the “ghoul” (Chicago Review), the “triumphant outsider” (Contemporary Poetry Review)—returns with a dangerous new collection of poems. Nice Weather presents the sexual and political themes that have long preoccupied Seidel—and thrilled and offended his readers. Lyrical, grotesque, elegiac, this book adds new music and menace to his masterful body of work.


The Tuner of Silences by Mia Cuoto


Release date: September 11
Publisher: Biblioasis

“The biggest event in international literature this season could easily be the unexpected and magnificent novel of the Mozambican Mia Couto…. The fascination exerted by this novel, which one cannot put down, resides in its many resonances. The reader is immersed in the concrete, sensual, even comic nature of the universe into which he ushers us. Mia Couto has made his way discreetly in France as a short story writer and poet. Now we know that he is a very great novelist.”
–L’Humanité (Paris)


Psychology and Other Stories by C.P. Boyko


Release date: September 11
Publisher: Biblioasis

Psychologists are people we love to hate. At best, they’re compassionate detectives of the human soul, healers and diagnosticians, assessing the internal machinations that structure our lives and behavior. At worst, however, they’re smug, hyper-educated, bombastic, yappy, socially deaf, thrice-divorced and twice-separated spouse-swapping cat-torturing perverts. Plus, they’re all in this book. And so are their patients.


Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next by John D. Kasarda


Release date: September 18
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Not so long ago, airports were built near cities, and roads connected one to the other. This pattern—the city in the center, the airport on the periphery—shaped life in the twentieth century, from the central city to exurban sprawl. Today, the ubiquity of jet travel, round-the-clock workdays, overnight shipping, and global business networks has turned the pattern inside out. Soon the airport will be at the center and the city will be built around it, the better to keep workers, suppliers, executives, and goods in touch with the global market. This is the aerotropolis: a combination of giant airport, planned city, shipping facility, and business hub. The aerotropolis approach to urban living is now reshaping life in Seoul and Amsterdam, in China and India, in Dallas and Washington, D.C. The aerotropolis is the frontier of the next phase of globalization, whether we like it or not.


The Cardboard House by Martín Adán


Release date: September 25
Publisher: New Directions

Published in 1928 to great acclaim when its author was just twenty years old, The Cardboard House is sweeping, kaleidoscopic, and passionate. The novel presents a stunning series of flashes — scenes, moods, dreams, and weather— as the narrator wanders through Barranco (then an exclusive seaside resort outside Lima). In one beautiful, radical passage after another, he skips from reveries of first loves, South Pole explorations, and ocean tides, to precise and unashamed notations of class and of race: an Indian woman “with her hard,shiny, damp head of hair—a mud carving,” to a gringo gobbling “synthetic milk,canned meat, hard liquor.”

October


A Question Mark Above the Sun: Documents on the Mystery Surrounding a Famous Poem “By” Frank O’Hara by Kent Johnson


Release date: October 2
Publisher: Starcherone

What you have in your hands is a kind of thought-experiment. It proffers the idea that a radical, secret gesture of poetic mourning and love was carried out by Kenneth Koch in memory of his close friend Frank O’Hara. I present the hypothesis as my own very personal expression of homage for the two great poets. The proposal I set forward here, nevertheless, is likely to make some readers annoyed, perhaps even indignant. Some already are. A few fellow writers, even, have worked hard through legal courses to block this book’s publication. The forced redaction of key quotations herein (replaced by paraphrase) is one result of their efforts.

In this self-described “thought experiment”—part fiction, part literary detective work, and always daring—Kent Johnson proposes a stunning rewrite of literary history. Suppressed upon initial release, this is a one-of-a-kind book by one of our most provocative contemporary authors.


Familiar: A Novel by J. Robert Lennon


Release date: October 2
Publisher: Graywolf

Elisa Brown is driving back from her annual, somber visit to her son Silas’s grave when something changes. Actually, everything changes: her body is more voluptuous; she’s wearing different clothes and driving a new car. When she arrives home, her life is familiar—but different. There is her house, her husband. But in the world she now inhabits, Silas is no longer dead, and his brother is disturbingly changed. Elisa has a new job, and her marriage seems sturdier, and stranger, than she remembers. She finds herself faking her way through a life she is convinced is not her own. Has she had a psychotic break? Or has she entered a parallel universe? Elisa believed that Silas was doomed from the start, but now that he is alive, what can she do to repair her strained relations with her children? She soon discovers that these questions hinge on being able to see herself as she really is—something that might be impossible for Elisa, or for anyone. In Familiar, J. Robert Lennon continues his profound and exhilarating exploration of the surreal undercurrents of contemporary American life.


Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories by Sherman Alexie


Release date: October 2
Publisher: Grove

A bold and irreverent observer of life among Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, the daring, versatile, funny, and outrageous Alexie showcases all his talents in his newest collection, Blasphemy, where he unites fifteen beloved classics with fifteen new stories in one sweeping anthology for devoted fans and first-time readers.


The Heart Broke In by James Meek


Release date: October 2
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Ritchie Shepherd, aging former pop star and wildly successful producer of a reality teen talent show, is starting to trip over the intricacy of his own lies. Gallingly, his sister, Bec, a scientist developing a crucial vaccine, is as addicted to truth-telling as Ritchie is to falsehood. Ritchie relies on her certitude even as he seethes with resentment. A devastating chain of events is set into motion when Bec tells her fiancé, Val, a powerful tabloid editor, that she can’t bring herself to marry him after all. Val has set himself up as the moral arbiter of the nation, which will turn out to be impeccable camouflage for an elaborate revenge plot intended to destroy Bec by exposing the people who are close to her—which now include Alex, a brilliant researcher in gene therapies who is so desperate to have a family of his own that Bec finds herself willing to lie and cheat in order to get him what he wants.


Silent House by Orhan Pamuk


Release date: October 13
Publisher: Knopf

In a crumbling mansion in Cennethisar (formerly a fishing village, now a posh resort near Istanbul) the old widow Fatma awaits the annual summer visit of her grandchildren: Faruk, a dissipated failed historian; his sensitive leftist sister, Nilgun; and the younger grandson, Metin, a high school student drawn to the fast life of the nouveaux riches, who dreams of going to America. The widow has lived in the village for decades, ever since her husband, an idealistic young doctor, first arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by her faithful servant Recep, a dwarf—and the doctor’s illegitimate son. Mistress and servant share memories, and grievances, of those early years. But it is Recep’s cousin Hassan, a high school dropout and fervent right-wing nationalist, who will draw the visiting family into the growing political cataclysm, in this spellbinding novel depicting Turkey’s tumultuous century-long struggle for modernity.


The Big Screen by David Thompson


Release date: October 16
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Big Screen is not another history of the movies. Rather, it is a wide-ranging narrative about the movies and their signal role in modern life. At first, film was a waking dream, the gift of appearance delivered for a nickel to huddled masses sitting in the dark. But soon, and abruptly, movies began transforming our society and our perception of the world. David Thomson takes us around the globe, through time, and across many media—moving from Eadweard Muybridge to Steve Jobs, from Sunrise to I Love Lucy, from John Wayne to George Clooney, from television commercials to picture bytes on the Internet—to tell the complex, gripping, paradoxical story of the movies. He tracks the ways in which we were initially enchanted by this mesmerizing imitation of life and let movies—the stories, the stars, the look—show us how to live. But at the same time, movies, offering a seductive escape from everyday reality and its responsibilities, have made it possible for us to evade life altogether. The entranced audience has become a model for powerless and anxietyridden citizens trying to pursue happiness and dodge terror by sitting quietly in a dark room.


The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira by César Aira


Release date: October 16
Publisher: New Directions

César Aira’s newest novel in English is not about a conventional doctor. Single,in his forties, and poor, Dr. Aira is a skeptic. His personality — his weaknesses,whims, and pet peeves — is summed up in a series of digressions and regressions but he has a very special gift for miracles. He no longer cares about miracles,however, and has no faith in them. Perhaps he is even a little ashamed about his supernatural powers. Such is Dr. Aira, who also has to confront his arch-enemy— chief of the Piñero Hospital, Dr. Actyn — who is constantly trying to prove that Dr. Aira is a charlatan. Poor Dr. Aira is indeed a worker of miracles, but César Aira — the magesterial author — sends the very human doctor stumbling toward the biggest trap of all, in this magical book.


La Folie Baudelaire by Roberto Calasso


Release date: October 16
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Seen together, Roberto Calasso’s books—beginning with The Ruin of Kasch—constitute an original and perceptive reconsideration of the great arc of literature, art, and mythology. In this lavishly illustrated book, Calasso turns his attention to the poets and writers of Paris in the nineteenth century who created what was later called “the Modern.” His protagonist is Charles Baudelaire: poet of “nerves,” art lover, pioneering critic, man about Paris. Calasso ranges through Baudelaire’s life and work, focusing on two painters—Ingres and Delacroix—about whom Baudelaire wrote acutely, and then turning to Degas and Manet, who followed in the tracks Baudelaire laid down in his great essay “The Painter of Modern Life.” In a mosaic of stories, insights, close readings of poems, and commentaries on paintings, Baudelaire’s Paris comes to life. In the eighteenth century, a folie was a garden pavilion set aside for people of leisure, a place of delight and fantasy. Following Baudelaire, Calasso has created a brilliant and dramatic “Folie Baudelaire”—a place where the reader can encounter Baudelaire, his peers, his city, and his extraordinary likes and dislikes, finally discovering that it was to become nothing less than the land of “absolute literature.”


The Fun Stuff by James Wood


Release date: October 30
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Following The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self, and How Fiction Works—books that established James Wood as the leading critic of his generation—The Fun Stuff confirms Wood’s preeminence, not only as a discerning judge but also as an appreciator of the contemporary novel. In twenty-three passionate, sparkling dispatches—that range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leon Tolstoy, Edmund Wilson, and Mikhail Lermontov—Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel. He effortlessly connects his encyclopedic, passionate understanding of the literary canon with an equally in-depth analysis of the most important authors writing today, including Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Davis, Aleksandar Hemon, and Michel Houellebecq. Included in The Fun Stuff are the title essay on Keith Moon and the lost joys of drumming—which was a finalist for last year’s National Magazine Awards—as well as Wood’s essay on George Orwell, which Christopher Hitchens selected for the Best American Essays 2010. The Fun Stuff is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about contemporary literature.

November


Echo’s Bones by Samuel Beckett


Release date: November 6
Publisher: Grove

In 1933, Chatto & Windus agreed to publish Samuel Beckett’s More Pricks Than Kicks, a collection of ten interrelated stories—it was to be his first published work of fiction. At his editor’s request, Beckett penned an additional story to serve as the final piece. It was called “Echo’s Bones,” but it caused many problems for Beckett, as he had killed off the protagonist of the stories. But in the end, his editor politely turned it down and it was not included. As a result, the story “Echo’s Bones,” not to be confused with the poem and collection of poems of the same title, remained unpublished. Now, almost eight decades later, it will finally find its way into print.


Time of Angels by Homero Aridjis and Francisco Toledo


Release date: November 13
Publisher: City Lights

One of Mexico’s most admired poets addresses the intangible reign of the angels amidst the ruins of our daily life. These poems offer faith in the eloquent silence of the angels as a sign of hope and point to glimpses of their presence among us. Time of Angels is a fable of sorts, with each poem accompanied by a drawing by Francisco Toledo in a deluxe, bilingual limited edition.


A Long Day’s Evening by Bilge Karasu


Release date: November 13
Publisher: City Lights

When the Emperor of Byzantium orders the destruction of all religious paintings and icons, Constantinople is thrown into crisis. Fear grips the monastery where Andronikos, a young monk, is thrown into a spiritual crisis. Amidst stirrings of resistance he decides to escape, leaving behind his beloved Ioakim, who must confront his own crisis of faith and decide where to place his allegiance. The dualities of dogma and faith, individual and society, East and West, are embodied in a story of prohibited love and devotion to the unseen.


Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolano


Release date: November 13
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Begun in the 1980s and worked on until the author’s death in 2003, Woes of the True Policeman is Roberto Bolaño’s last, unfinished, novel. The novel follows Amalfitano—exiled Chilean university professor and widower with a teenage daughter—as his political disillusionment and love of poetry lead to the scandal that will force him to flee from Barcelona and take him to Santa Teresa, Mexico. It is here, in this border town—haunted by dark tales of murdered women and populated by characters like Sorcha, who fought in the Andalusia Blue Division in the Spanish Civil War, and Castillo, who makes his living selling his forgeries of Larry Rivers paintings to wealthy Texans—that Amalfitano meets Arcimboldi, a magician and writer whose work highlights the provisional and fragile nature of literature and life.


Dear Life by Alice Munro


Release date: November 13
Publisher: Knopf

With her peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but spacious and timeless stories, Alice Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped—the moment a dream, or sex, or perhaps a simple twist of fate turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being. Suffused with Munro’s clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these stories (set in the world Munro has made her own: the countryside and towns around Lake Huron) about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be.