On that Oft-Predicted End of the Novel

I wish I had time to make some comments on the Boston Review’s think-piece essay on the death of the novel, but for now all I can do is point you to it. This is the on-sentence summary:

There is no crisis of realism in contemporary fiction; there is only a crisis of ownership.

That’s about as good of a slogan as I’ve seen regarding the perennial entombment of all that is novelistic. If you like that, read the whole thing. Suffice to say, there’s oodles of Bakhtin (and well-quoted/summarized Bakhtin), plus some Woolf, Bloom, etc, even a little Wood, all gracefully deployed and well-synthesized.

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It’s really sad that argument breaks down finally into, read more critics and writers of color and stop feeling guilty you white people in your gated Brooklyn-Cambridge community…

Which is to say, it was a singularly bad article of precisely the sort it was singling out as ineffective.

Foucault is great but as Charles Taylor easily demonstrated it’s turtles all the way down. Was this written in the 90’s ? If so, the writer could be forgiven because they did not known that there is never any end to Paris ?

And Famished Road is amazing, nonetheless.

This was published in Boston ?


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

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 . . .


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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