this is the text we'll be working with." />

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.

For low prices on Las Vegas shows visit LasVegas.ShowTickets.com
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    Issue 38 right here. or TOC after the jump. Features Readings, Fragments,... »
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You Say

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

Shop though these links = Support this site


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.


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  • Noir and Nihilism in True Detective December 15, 2014
    "It’s just one story. The oldest. . . . Light versus dark." Spanning 8 episodes between January and March of 2014, HBO’s runaway hit True Detective challenged the status quo of contemporary crime drama. The show has been widely celebrated for its philosophy, complexity, and visual aesthetic. Co-starring actors Matthew McConaughey as Rustin "Ru […]
  • The Colonel’s World December 15, 2014
    Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (born 1940) is considered by many the living Iranian novelist, a perennial Nobel Prize candidate. Dowlatabadi wrote The Colonel some thirty years ago, because in his own words he had been “afflicted.” The subject forced him to sit at the desk and write nonstop for two years. “Writing The Colonel I felt a strong sense of indignation and pa […]
  • Mr Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn by Alessandro Baricco December 15, 2014
    Alessandro Baricco’s well-crafted, elegant prose seems as though it should create the impression of distance, or of abstraction; instead, the reader of Mr. Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn becomes wholly implicated and immersed, drawn into a dreamy and idiosyncratic world that blurs the division between reader, character and writer. As readers, we expect that th […]
  • The Walls of Delhi by Uday Prakash December 15, 2014
    "The paan shop leads to the opening of a tunnel, full of the creatures of the city, and the tears and spit of a fakir." In a single opening line, Uday Prakash sets the scene for the politically incisive, yet intimately human stories of The Walls of Delhi (translated brilliantly from the Hindi by Jason Grunebaum). Lest the fakir suggest otherwise, t […]
  • The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation December 15, 2014
    In a speech reprinted in the book, Heim makes a self-deprecating joke about whether the life of a translator is worth reading: “What does a translator do? He sits and translates!” The Man Between serves as a book-length retort by laying bare all the things Heim did: these include persuading the academy that translation is a scholarly (in addition to a creati […]
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    Yes, I think people are not comfortable anymore to write in this straightforward, traditional way, especially the younger, more progressive writers. So it’s interesting—you have social commentary, and you also get a little bit of structural experiment. You have themes that are very, very Thai. I’m actually very interested to see what new writers will come up […]
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck December 15, 2014
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  • In the Heart of the Heart of the Country by William H. Gass December 15, 2014
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  • Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli December 15, 2014
    Luiselli’s first novel, Faces in the Crowd, translated into fluid English by Christina MacSweeney, is the perfect illustration of this attitude toward fiction writing. Narrated in short sections spanning multiple storylines and the better part of one hundred years, it uses "[d]eep excavations" to expose the empty spaces in two lives, those of a you […]

Life A User’s Manual Big Read Schedule

In this post you’ll find the reading schedule for the 2011 Life A User’s Manual Big Read, plus a list of resources and books you may want to have a look at in conjunction with the read.

The read will start on Sunday, March 13, one week after we launch the spring issue of The Quarterly Conversation. If you want to join in, this is the text we’ll be working with.

One note: I’m only including pages up through page 569 of the Godine corrected edition in this schedule. You are encouraged to read the Appendices in conjunction with the read, but I’m not going to include them on this schedule.

Schedule

Week 1: March 13 – March 19: Preamble plus Part 1 (pp. XV – 89)
Week 2: March 20 – March 26: First half of Part 2 (pp. 93 – 173)
Week 3: March 27 – April 2: Second half of Part 2 and First half of Part 3 (pp. 173 – 273)
Week 4: April 3 – April 9: Second half of Part 3 (pp. 274 – 344)
Week 5: April 10 – April 16: Part 4 (pp. 347 – 459)
Week 6: April 17 – April 23: Part 5 (pp. 463 – 521)
Week 7: April 24 – April 30: Part 6 + Epilogue (pp. 525 – 569)
Week 8: May 1 – May 7: Concluding thoughts & discussions

Books

Oulipo: A Primer of Potential Literature, edited by Warren Motte
Oulipo in their own words. A collection of writings by members of the Oulipo group, including Italo Calvino, Harry Mathews, Georges Perec, Jacques Roubad, and Raymond Queneau.
Georges Perec issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction
Essays about Perec, and some texts by him.
Georges Perec: A Life in Words by David Bellos
Gigantic biography of Perec by the translator of Life.
The Orchard: A Remembrance of Georges Perec by Harry Mathews

Web Resources

Georges Perec at Words Without Borders
Reading Georges Perec from CONTEXT
Georges Perec at The Scriptorium
Paul Auster’s New York Times Review of Life
Oulipo information

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More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Spring 2011 Big Read: Life A Users Manual We have chosen our Big Read for this spring, and it is Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec. Thanks to everyone who voted. If...
  2. Life: A User's Manual In Life: A User’s Manual, Georges Perec describes a rarely visited tribe deep within Sumatra. An anthropologist is trying to understand the habits of the...
  3. Not Even Death Can Save You Artforum reports on the recent gathering of Oulipo in NYC: As noted by poet and memoirist Honor Moore (the Host), the six readers are Oulipians...
  4. Life A User's Manual Something tells me Georges Perec would find all this ruckus over plagiarism silly. From Life A User’s Manual: . . . and Moriane with its...
  5. Your Face This Spring Okay, let’s do this. Starting this spring, I’m going to read Javier Marias’ Your Face Tomorrow trilogy. Whoever wants to join me on this...

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