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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 […]

Laszlo Krasznahorkai

I think the next major author I’m going to completely fall in love with will be Laszlo Krasznahorkai. Two of his books are available in English from New Directions, and soon two more will be, including what many people have told me is his current greatest work, Satantango.

I mention all this because Waggish has a nice post about AnimalInside a “novella” by Krasznahorkai that was published as part of the excellent Cahiers series from American University of Paris (you can subscribe if you want at that link) and will be published by New Directions in the U.S. next April.

For an introduction to Krasznahorkai I’ll point you to Waggish’s–or rather David Auerbach’s–piece on Krasznahorkai in The Quarterly Conversation, which covers his two books in English, War and War and The Melancholy of Resistance.

Though I’ve only read one thing by Krasznahorkai–a nine-page, one-sentence story in Best European Fiction 2011, which was an excellent story–I’ve heard or read so many good things about him from people I trust that I’d be surprised if I didn’t like him. I still have a few things I’m trying to work through before the end of the year, but I think I’ll be getting into him big time in 2011.

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More from Conversational Reading:

  1. "repeat everything exactly as it is in the original regardless of what the English language WANTS" Those were the instructions given by László Krasznahorkai to his translator. With greater context, the quote reads . . . continue reading, and add your...
  2. Wimmer on Rodoreda Just catching up with Natasha Wimmer’s piece on Catalan writer Mercè Rodoreda. Not much to say here other than, I wanted to read Rodoreda going...
  3. Not Available In English Words Without Borders has an interview with Agaat-translator Michiel Heyns. According to the interview, either this book will be published in English soon or Heyns...
  4. Shadow of Towers in Times Michiko Kakutani checks in with a review of the long-awaited In the Shadow of No Towers. “No Towers” is ultimately a fragmentary, unfinished piece: brilliant...
  5. Peter Beinart Over at the New York Review of Books, Frank Rich uses Peter Beinart as a punching bag. Excellent. In all his pages about the war...

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3 comments to Laszlo Krasznahorkai

  • Travis Godsoe

    Sounds great. I’d also recommend his film collaborations with Bela Tarr, which are some of the more remarkable films in modern cinema, with their incredibly long shots designed to mimic Krasznahorkai’s sentence structure.

  • Padraic

    Agree with Travis – it’s hard to top the Satantango/Werkmeister/Damnation trilogy as the best cinema of the past 25 years.

    War without War is good, but I can’t imagine reading Melancholy after the adaptation of Werkmeister. Those images would overrun anything on the page.

  • Krasznahorkai is my favorite living novelist based on “Melancholy.” Naturally Waggish was the one who pushed him on me!

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