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.


  • [[there.]] by Lance Olsen December 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen is the author of two recent works, [[there.]] and Theories of Forgetting (FC2). The second presents three narratives in a clearly fictional mode while the first offers day-to-day thoughts on living in another country. We rightly suspect that any artist’s memoir or diary ought to be viewed as written with a prospective public in mind, no matter ho […]
  • 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 […]
  • The Prabda Yoon Interview December 15, 2014
    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
    For Jenny Erpenbeck, no life is lived in an indisputable straight line. Which is why, in her new novel (new in English, though published in 2012 as Aller Tage Abend) she approaches the narrative as a series of potential emotional earthquakes, some which take place, some which might have taken place, all of which reveal something of how political turbulence p […]
  • In the Heart of the Heart of the Country by William H. Gass December 15, 2014
    Once, at a writers symposium, William Howard Gass remarked that to substitute the page for the world is a form of revenge for the recognition that "you are, in terms of the so-called world, an impotent nobody." There is inarguably no contemporary writer of American stock in whose work one might locate a more ambitious war of attrition between innov […]
  • 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 […]

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>