Quantcast

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

You Say

  • Max: Henry, it seems a little odd to say that Proust and Kafka an
  • Mike: I agree with much of this discussion, though I'm not sure wh
  • S: This outpouring has been pretty wide-spread indeed. To be ho
  • Will: Salman rushdie is a microscopic crapule on the asshole of th
  • Henry: I think the fireworks may come from the fact that these auth
  • Paul: Vanessa Place's 'La Medusa' seems like an American authored
  • Lance: I agree with you about the state of American fiction and I b

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.


  • 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 […]

New Book: 2017 by Olga Slavnikova

2017 is one of those novels that I would get to if I lived in a world where I had all the time I wanted to read everything I wanted to. It was just published on March 18 in Marian Schwartz’s translation, Schwartz being the person behind many of the more interesting recent translations from Russian. Here’s a chunk from a review:

2017 is a novel that asks you to savor it slowly, bite by bite. Translator Marian Schwartz, one of the most accomplished Russian translators working today—who has translated the works of Nina Berberova, Edvard Radzinsky, and Mikhail Bulgakov, among others—has recreated Slavnikova’s dense novel in a smooth, eminently enjoyable English text. Passages describing the craft of obscure trades like gemcutting or rock-hounding flow from sentence to sentence with ease, making the translation seem effortless.

At its core, 2017 is a deceptively simple novel that explores the notion of authenticity in a modern life. . . .

I’m guessing I’m not the only one having to triage more and more these days when it comes to selecting which books to read. I’m probably going to read something like 80 books this year, and, actually, I feel like that’s too many, but also not nearly enough. I know there are people out there who will scoff at my 80, but, for me, it takes quite a lot of time to read that many books, and I think the point of serious diminishing returns probably hits somewhere around 70. So 80 is probably a little too much, but I’ll probably hit it by necessity. A good chunk of these books will be assignments that I have little or no say in, which I’m more or less okay with, since I tend to discover a lot of good literature that way, but still, every assigned book I read means one less book from a core author whose work I’d like to read in its entirety.

All that makes it very hard when I see something like 2017, a book that won a prestigious prize, is translated by a translator I have great respect for, and that has what sounds like a very interesting story. My position is that I have shelves of books such as this, and there’s no way to get to them all, much less get to them plus the older books I feel I need to read plus the assignments. It’s hard. I wish there was a way to get to all the books that look amazing, but there really isn’t.

You Might Also Like:

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. P & V’s Untranslated Book Rec Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky–the two translators perhaps better known as P & V–have been interviewed over at The Millions. They’re asked the question that...
  2. Translation Panel Write-up Critical Mass has posted my write-up of the translation panel I was on last week at City Lights. In my opinion, it was a very...
  3. Runners by Olga Tokarczuk Polish Writing has a nice interview with Olga Tokarczuk, author of Bieguni (Runners). Therein she discusses the "episodic consciousness" in her book: Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało: You...
  4. Best Translated Book Shortlist Party If you’re in NYC tonight, drop by for the announcement of the 10-title Best Translated Book shortlists, both for fiction and poetry. As Chad says:...
  5. Few Extra Bucks Book critic Joe Queenan begains a NYTBR humor piece with this admission: Freelance writers are always looking for ways to scare up a few extra...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

3 comments to New Book: 2017 by Olga Slavnikova

  • Tom

    Scott — I know what you mean. For serious bibliophiles, reading is not just a passion but a lifestyle.

    I’m always interested in other people’s literary habits (maybe so as to either justify or condemn my own). I try to devote 3 solid hours per day to books — if the work is extraordinary, then it sometimes possesses me entirely and I read for 6 or 7 hours straight — but I find those 3 blessed hours to be the sweet spot. I can productively read while still living a “real” life.

    It’s a strange compulsion to have. I sympathize with feeling beleaguered and even stressed out when confronting shelves of unread books. But why? I suppose it’s a way of combating mortality — there’s only so much time, after all, and we’re loathe to admit that.

  • jonathan

    I hit 60 last year, and I was pushing myself. I’m a very slow reader and don’t know how I would be able to keep up if I didn’t have a relatively easy job that doesn’t come home with me. Also a few slim volumes (poetry, the shorter Bolano novellas) pumped that number up a bit (although I did read Underworld, Moby-dick, and the two mammoth Alexander Theroux novels).

  • [...] by Olga Slavnikova. Winner of the Russian Booker Prize.  My interest was piqued after Conversational Reading’s lament about not having the time to read all the good books such as [...]

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>