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

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.


  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante September 16, 2014
    Few novelists have captured the rhythms and flow of life with the veracity of Elena Ferrante in her Neapolitan Novels. Following the friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo from childhood to old age, the tetralogy spans fifty years; over the course of that time, no emotion is too small, too dark, too banal to be recorded. No expense, so to speak, is […]
  • Trieste by Daša Drndić September 15, 2014
    As Drndić reiterates throughout the novel, “Behind every name there is a story.” And Haya Tedeschi’s story is draped in death. Born to a Jewish family that converted to Catholicism and tacitly supported the Fascists in Italy, Haya was a bystander to the Holocaust. She attended movies while Jews and partisans were transported to concentration camps; she pored […]
  • The Tree With No Name by Drago Jančar September 15, 2014
    At the opening of chapter 87—the first chapter found in The Tree with No Name—Janez Lipnik finds himself up a tree, shoeless, and lost in the Slovenian countryside. He makes his way to a house where he is taken in by a woman teacher who is waiting for her lover, a soldier. It becomes clear we are at the height of World War II. Soon after, we follow Lipnik […]
  • Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories September 15, 2014
    Here, at the midpoint of his narrative, Bernhard, the affectless and purposeless protagonist of "The Unseen," experiences existential near-emancipation at dusk. This retreat toward obscurity in terse, direct language—thematic and stylistic markers of each work in the collection—comes immediately after Bernhard’s sister mentions her plans to enterta […]
  • Berlin Now by Peter Schneider September 15, 2014
    In his new book of essays, Berlin Now, Peter Schneider reveals himself as a gnarled Cold Warrior who has been stricken with many of the maladies common to his generation. With the specter of Communism exorcized, his new enemy is Islam. The book is a collection of short interlocking pieces introducing Anglophone readers to Berlin; it is not being published in […]
  • Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente September 15, 2014
    In 1999, Marcos Giralt Torrente’s debut novel, Paris, was awarded the XVII Premio Herralde de Novela prize. Despite his success, it took fourteen years for Giralt’s work to appear in English, with the story collection The End of Love arriving in 2013. Now, this year sees the publication of two more books by Giralt: Paris, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, a […]
  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner September 15, 2014
    “It seemed that the [New Yorker] story—which was in part the result of my dealing with the reception of my novel—had been much more widely received than the novel itself,” says the narrator of Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04. Perhaps this narrator is Lerner himself—at one point he describes 10:04, within its own pages, as “neither fiction nor nonfiction but […]
  • Theories of Forgetting by Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen’s Theories of Forgetting is a masterful work structured around Robert Smithson’s earthwork “The Spiral Jetty.” Olsen’s novel is comprised of three narrations, written each by a separate member of a family. The husband’s and wife’s texts progress in opposite directions across the book, with each page divided among these two inverted texts; though […]
  • An Interview with Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    The most substantial may be that innovative fiction knows what it is, that someone like me could define it in any productive way, that innovative fiction might somehow be one thing, or somehow consistent through time and space. None of these is the case. That’s exactly what I find most exciting about writing it, reading it, thinking about it. Innovative fict […]
  • The Ants by Sawako Nakayasu September 15, 2014
    In The Ants, we receive a study of existence through ants. That is, there are ants everywhere, ants substituted in every segment of the landscape, yet their behavior seems to reveal something altogether human. Too human. The ants are crushed and disappointed. They are warm and many. They are involved in gang wars and live inside carrot cake. The unique quali […]

One-Paragraph and/or One-Sentence Books: An Ongoing List

For more lists, see this page.


Over the years I’ve somewhat developed an obsession for these sorts of books. Something about the wall-to-wall big block of text (which most of these employ) and the vague stance between novel and poem (yet without really being a prose poem) just draws me in. Here’s my ongoing list of all the examples I know of. I’m sure I’ve missed plenty–please fill me in.


Zone by Mathias Enard


One of the biggest examples of the genre. I reviewed it quite favorably and interviewed the translator.


Thomas Bernhard


Perhaps the lord of this list, nearly everything he wrote applies to this category. A giant among giants, but enter at your own risk.


The She-Devil in the Mirror by Horacio Castellanos Moya


Quite appropriate that a book of his appears here, as Castellanos Moya has made no secret of his debts to Bernhard–both stylistically and disposition-wise.


Leeches by David Albahari


I don’t know much about this book other than that it fits the genre and sounds plotty. Takes place in Belgrade and involves secret societies.


Aliss at the Fire


A rare version of the genre in that though it has no periods, it actually does use paragraph breaks fairly regularly (though there are some text-blocks as well). I’m in the process of reading this one and like it so far.


Klausen by Andreas Maier


I haven’t read this one, although the book’s size reminds me of Bernhard.


Eden Eden Eden by Pierre Guyotat


I read a good chunk of this one in the bookstore. I told myself I would keep reading until the author stopped describing radically perverse sexual behavior, but, alas, he didn’t, and I had to put the book down before I became embarrassed. An apparent darling of the French intellectuals, as Roland Barthes wrote an introduction and Michel Foucault claimed it spoke things that had never been spoken before.


Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age by Bohumil Hrabal


This is a reissue of a prior translation by NYRB Classics. It sounds quite good and Hrabal was an influential author.


Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou


A sadly failed example of our genre. The book starts out strong but cannot maintain its energy or inventiveness.


By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano


Actually two sentences, but the second sentence is very short and this book is very, very good. Plus, it has that obsessive monologic that is characteristic of the genre.


03 by Jean-Christophe Valtat


I’m not sure anyone “got” this book except for James Wood, who gave it a good review that made me want to read it. All of the other reviews made it sound like any other French existentialist novel.


Dies: A Sentence by Vanessa Place


I know very little about this book, except that it fits the category and that some readers of this site (plus some impressive people) recommend it.


The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise by Georges Perec


I was unaware that a book of Perec’s fir this category until a reader told me so. I’m so very pleased that Perec can be placed into this company, as he certainly belongs here!

You Might Also Like:

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. The One Sentence Challenge Interesting. Physicist Richard Feynman once said that if all knowledge about physics was about to expire the one sentence he would tell the future is...
  2. Sentence as Book Possibly inspired by the publication of Zone, Ed Park runs down some 1-sentence novels and variations thereof. . . . continue reading, and add your...
  3. Zone’s Sentence The Chicago Tribune has a little more about Mathias Enard’s Zone, recently acquired for translation by Open Letter. By far, the most distinctive feature of...
  4. A Writer Comes Home to Death Threats Words Without Borders has a short essay by the Salvadorian author and personal favorite Horacio Castellanos Moya. In it, he discusses how he discovered the...
  5. The Ongoing Moment I’m really enjoying Geoff Dyer’s photography "encyclopedia," The Ongoing Moment. I put encyclopedia in quotes becuase you might be skeptical as to how a 304-page...

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

12 comments to One-Paragraph and/or One-Sentence Books: An Ongoing List

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>