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.

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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 […]

Ahh, the Memories

Just reminiscing, but now that we’re talking about Mitchell it seems relevant to share the time I watched the Cloud Atlas movie somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Istanbul. It was roughly the 20th hour of one of the longest, most wearying aviation experiences of my life, and I needed something.

All in all, probably a really interesting way to experience the movie. I recall it being extremely well made and very entertaining in a “take my mind off of the fact that I’m dead tired and can’t sleep and have 10 more hours of aviation . . . continue reading, and add your comments

A Horrified And Sympathetic Response To Michael Haneke’s The Seventh Continent

So I’ve got a little something in the latest issue of Drunken Boat.

If you’ll indulge me in some meta commentary, the origin of this essay is a little interesting (at least to me). I’m a fan of Michael Haneke’s films, and eventually I got to his film The Seventh Continent. This was Haneke’s first movie, and it bears a lot of the marks of the long career in theater that preceded his becoming a director, so maybe this helps account for the fact that this thing got to me like nothing of Haneke’s I’d ever seen. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

The Strange Library

I don’t really know why, but a new book from Haruki Murakami always seems to have a bit of that wow factor, even though I’ve pretty much had my moment with Murakami’s work. Not that I wouldn’t get to these eventually, just that he’s not really the guy I’m aching to read, and hasn’t been for some time.

Anyway, hot on the heels of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage comes The Strange Library in December.

“The Strange Library,” which will be published in the United States by Knopf this December, is narrated . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Two Pans

Another high-profile pan for David Mitchell’s newest. I think Mitchell is pretty seriously overrated, but most people in the media and the industry seem to love him. (I can still recall the enormous lines at BEA to grab a prized galley . . .) So it’s interesting that a book with this much hype and PR muscle behind it can have such a blemished debut. Doesn’t happen often.

What goes wrong? In part, The Bone Clocks falls apart in the same way all supernatural and horror stories fall apart: It shows the monster, and once it shows . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Thoughtcrime

There are a lot of really obvious takes on this that you are probably already thinking of. To me, the interesting/scary thing about this is that we have lots and lots of people in this country who seem unable to understand that one might write a work of fiction for any reason other than wish-fulfillment. That, plus, um, all the movies about mass shootings?

A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Maryland, middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—”taken in for an emergency medical evaluation” for publishing, under a pseudonym, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Wood on Mitchell

For the record, James Wood’s take on Mitchell is pretty much my own. Dude can write for days, but I rarely feel that there is any greater meaning or insight to get out of his books.

Mitchell has plenty to tell, but does he have much to say? “Cloud Atlas” offered an impressive narrative parquet, but what else was it? In that novel, to take an example, Robert Frobisher, a composer working in the nineteen-thirties, is writing a musical piece called “Cloud Atlas Sextet”; later in the book, in the pulp-fiction tale set in nineteen-seventies California, a . . . continue reading, and add your comments

M&L on Ann Quin

Music & Literature unearths a sroty of Ann Quin and publishes it. If the name is new to you, have a look here.

The Potato Eaters

Nice interview with Bela Tarr’s cinematographer, Fred Kelemen, discussing the film The Turin Horse (which I recently watched, and which is incredible). Even the brief intro to this interview is packed with more insight than most things you’re likely to read on this film.

Scope: In Tarr’s films one is always aware of the camera and its relationship to physical space. His cinema and your cinema make the viewer quite aware of the physical space and the relationship—either close or far—of where the camera is to bodies and space. Was that something you were immediately aware of . . . continue reading, and add your comments

35 Worthy Independent Books

All publishing this fall. Pretty nice list. Good on Publishers Weekly.

The new Dostoevsky

Been a while since I read Crime and Punishment. Sounds interesting.

Several earlier translations tended to smooth over Dostoevsky’s stylistic peculiarities, robbing the novel of the unique, jagged tone and nervous repetitions that best represent Raskolnikov’s anxious state. Ready sought to preserve these lexical peculiarities of Dostoevsky’s language in his own work, while also trying to maintain the novel’s hypnotic and compelling power. In doing so, he inevitably stumbled on some unique features of Russian that are very hard to reproduce in English.

“All those particles and adverbs, often denoting elusive emotions and emphasis rather than . . . continue reading, and add your comments