On Édouard Levé

Some interesting thoughts on the author Édouard Levé. I’ve got a review of his Suicide coming up. It’s quite good.

It would be too simple (perhaps, boring even) to consider Levé’s own suicide as the subject of his writing, but it is too difficult to think of the two as mutually exclusive. Even if, to attempt to reconcile his death with his fiction, is viscous. It is not a question, as it might be with other authors, of unfairly reading him with preconceived notions about his life (and death). Readers of Suicide cannot ignore the question, or problem, of the author’s death. The pages of his book reflect his suicide, almost paradoxically; to see them individually is to find them suspended between to parallel, facing mirrors: an infinite series of receding images. Was the book a manifestation (an attempt at self-administered therapy, perhaps) of his would be suicide? Was his suicide the product of having sunk too deep into the subject of self-annihilation? Or, are they both symptoms of a much darker, troubled, something, within Édouard Levé? Perhaps, the more important question is, should the suicide of writer who wrote, “Ton suicide fut d’une beauté scandaleuse,” be treated as an aesthetic act? Their relationship is, almost, nuclear, as if to disentangle them would be like splitting an atom. Suicide, as a work of literature, is remade, enigmatically, by the death of the author: “Expliquer ton suicide? Personne ne s’y est risqué.”



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I just read an essay of his in the Paris Review and found it amazing. I’ve read an excerpt of Suicide and am looking forward to your review.

THE SURRENDER

The Surrender is Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning his lifelong desire to be a woman.


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The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


THE LATIN AMERICAN MIXTAPE

5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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