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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.


  • A Treatise on Shelling Beans by Wiesław Myśliwski March 9, 2014
    A man enters a house and asks to buy some beans, but we aren’t given his question, only the response: humble surprise from the narrator and an invitation inside. This modesty, though it remains at the core of the narrator throughout, is quickly overwhelmed when his questions, his welcoming explanations, flow into an effort to tell his whole life story, from […]
  • The Gorgeous Nothings by Emily Dickinson, edited by Marta Werner and Jen Bervin March 9, 2014
    The Gorgeous Nothings, the dedicated work of visual artist Jen Bervin and author Marta Werner, presents in large format the first full-color publication of all fifty-two of Emily Dickinson’s envelope writings. As such, it opens up an aspect of her craft that suggests she was, in the so-called late ecstatic period of her career, experimenting with creating te […]
  • The Mehlis Report by Rabee Jaber March 9, 2014
    The Mehlis Report follows the architect Saman Yarid on his daily perambulations around Lebanon's capital, where his memories of the city's past and his observations of the high-rises that have emerged from the ruins of the nation's civil war dominate the faint plot. But the book transcends Beirut: Jaber writes about what is left behind when pe […]
  • The Fiddler of Driskill Hill by David Middleton March 9, 2014
    Middleton’s sensibility as poet and man is thoroughly Christian, Southern (or rather, Louisianan), and traditional, but he’s no unreconstructed romantic Rebel reliving the Civil War. His manner is meditative and elegiac, not rancorous or redneck. In a rare useful blurb on the back of the book, the North Carolina poet and novelist Fred Chappell describes Midd […]
  • The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell March 9, 2014
    After The Kindly Ones, the nine hundred-page long Goncourt Prize-winning “autobiography” of a Nazi, fans of the Franco-American writer Jonathan Littell may heave an inward sigh of relief at the sight of The Fata Morgana Books. A slim collection of “studies” (as some of these stories were called in their original French incarnations), The Fata Morgana Books n […]
  • Novelty: A History of the New by Michael North March 9, 2014
    There is no better way to ensure the early demise of a form or a style than to proclaim its newness; fewer epithets are as old as “new.” A well-known work by Italian artist Maurizio Nannucci reads, “All art has been contemporary”—we may wish to amend it, for present purposes, and have it read, “All art has been new.” Yet surely this is something of a truism. […]
  • A Life Among Invented Characters: A Tribute to Mavis Gallant March 9, 2014
    Two things immediately come to mind when remembering Mavis Gallant: her unique sense of humor—stories always told with a wry half-smile—and her near-comical stonewalling when confronted with leading questions about her craft in interviews and with audiences. The first time I was in her simple three-room apartment on rue Jean Ferrandi, a mere three blocks fro […]
  • The Guy Davenport Reader March 9, 2014
    Poet-critic. Think of that word, made of two—what a beaux construction. The first is wild, hair mussed, looking at a bird in a tree—yet the follower is practical, urbane, and seemingly obeisant to word counts. Together they bleach out the fusspot academic and appeal to logos—Davenport once said that he was “not writing for scholars or critics, but for people […]
  • [SIC] by Davis Schneiderman March 9, 2014
    In 2011 Andrew Gallix, in the Guardian, wrote a piece on unread difficult books, and mentioned “an anthology of blank books [edited by Michael Gibbs] entitled All Or Nothing,” and we can consider Blank as continuing that line. Kenneth Goldsmith’s prefatory essay “Why Conceptual Writing? Why Now?” in Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (201 […]
  • The Ben Marcus Interview March 9, 2014
    I do tend to generate a lot of pages when I’m drafting something, and I cut as I go. I make strange noises out of my face, on the page, and they are for the most part not worth keeping. Some of the stories don’t take shape until I overwrite and pursue every cursed dead-end I can think of, which clarifies everything I don’t want the story to become. But I don […]

On Hilda Hilst

Adam Z. Levy covers Hilda Hilst at Music & Literature. Definitely one of the more interesting discoveries of the past year or so. The most recent one to be translated is With My Dog-Eyes, publishing later this month from Melville House.

By the time of her death, in 2004, Hilda Hilst had garnered fame for the whole of her oeuvre—including Brazil’s most prestigious literary prizes—and notoriety for the filthiness of her final books. Her body of work, which includes poetry, plays, and prose, is as wide-ranging as it is defiantly avant-garde, yet, despite the accolades, her . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Explaining the Knausgaard Publishing Situation

There seems to be a tiny bit of confusion so here’s the deal:

1. Archipelago is doing the hardcovers, FSG is doing the paperbacks.

2. However, Archipelago started publishing Knausgaard before this agreement was made, so they actually did a paperback of Book 1, which has since been discontinued.

3. Yes, the FSG covers are ugly as fuck. True fact: I’ve never met anyone who liked them. In fact, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t violently hate them. If anyone can explain them to us, please enlighten us. (Apologies to the designer, whom I’m sure is . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Peak Knausgaard

Yep, we’re getting there, and fast.

The Knaus-Tidal Gaard-Wave

I kinda had the idea that with Book 3 we’d hit peak Knausgaard. Looks to be the case.

Will be interesting to see if the press stays on board for Book 4. At this point I doubt it. And if you want to be one of the glorious bandwagoneers, get your damn copy from Archipelago. I love FSG and all, but Archipelago deserves (and needs) your money more.

Also a reminder, interview with Knausgaard in Tin House 60, coming out in about a month-and-a-half.

By now the response in that room has become widespread. Speak . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Alex Estes on Archipelago Books

All sorts of fascinating tidbits in Alex Estes’s profile of Jill Schoolman:

The financial realities for a literary indie press:

In 2003, after three years at Seven Stories Press, Schoolman set out on her own to found Archipelago Books. She decided then to set it up as a nonprofit company. As Archipelago completes its first decade in existence, regarding that decision, she has no regrets. The business model works. In the beginning, book sales made up a third of the company’s income, the other two thirds coming from donations, fundraising events, and support from various foundations (National . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Kazuo Ishiguro Novel in 2015

One of the very few contemporary English-language writers I’d consider a must-read. The Buried Giant in March 2015:

The Buried Giant was described by Faber as “sometimes savage [and] often intensely moving”. The publisher would only reveal that the book, Ishiguro’s seventh novel, will be about “lost memories, love, revenge and war”. Stephen Page, chief executive, said that the book was “a truly sublime new chapter in one of the most significant bodies of work of anyone writing today”.

“It is as surprising, moving and brilliant as you could hope for, and we can’t wait to publish,” . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Merch Is an Apostle of the Apocalypse

Yes, clearly the path forward for publishing is to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster model more than ever by trying to merchandise the fuck out of your “properties.” Because we all know that reading and publishing are about getting the little ‘uns hooked on a suite of brand identites that can be monitized across a range of complementary products and platforms well into young adulthood.

Tom Weldon isn’t bullish on publishing. He’s bullish on conglomerated, globalized retailing in which the key piece of intellectual property just happens to come from someone who wrote a book.

But it also . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Essay By Karl Ove Knausgaard

Eurozine has what looks to be a post-My Struggle essay by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Despite declaring My Struggle to be his end as an author, he published a book of essays after it and looks to still be writing . . .

The job of literary editor is practised under a kind of shadow cast by the author’s name. Though some editors have emerged from the sidelines, they tend to be thought of as notorious rather than famous because “editor” and “famous” are somehow inherently incompatible concepts – a contradiction in terms. Gordon Lish is a case . . . continue reading, and add your comments

On My Struggle Vol 3

Pretty good piece on Island Boyhood, the third volume of My Struggle, and it doesn’t even mention Proust!

Knausgaard fits those descriptions, but not gleefully. He isn’t a wilful, tickled badboy like Michel Houellebecq. Though his willingness to alienate friends and relatives suggests, as he admits, a certain degree of dissociation, Knausgaard is not a slave to his own damage in the way Houellebecq is. In Houellebecq’s work, damage is only the motor; in Knausgaard’s, it is a subject. My Struggle is an example of what you might call New Man existentialism, whereby male anomie and . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Can’t and Won’t

Surprisingly, The New York Times is lukewarm on Lydia Davis’ latest collection, Can’t and Won’t. I agree.