I owned this book for quite a while before I noticed this,
So translator Chris Andrews wrote a book on Bolaño: Roberto Bolaño’s Fiction: An Expanding Universe. I’m pretty excited for this one. Andrews is one smart guy, and he’s a fantastic translator who has been extremely close to a number to Bolaño’s best novels.
Publishers Weekly gave this book a starred review.
This is how I first came across this book. An amazing list of the murders recounted in “The Part About the Crimes” from 2666 and their real-life analogues.
And here’s Andrews discussing Bolaño and Aira at The Quarterly . . . continue reading, and add your comments
New issue of Asymptote, with some intriguing pieces by Cesar Aira and Sergio Chejfec.
In Aira’s piece, the Argentine pays praise to his literary father, Osvando Lamborghini:
The first publication of Osvaldo Lamborghini (Buenos Aires 1940 – Barcelona 1985), shortly after his thirtieth birthday, was El fiord; it appeared in 1969, but had been written several years before. It was a thin book, and for a long time it was sold in a single bookstore in Buenos Aires via the discreet method of asking for it from the salesperson. Though it was never republished, it traveled over . . . continue reading, and add your comments
David Auerbach makes an intriguing case for the novel Oil on Water by the Nigerian writer Helon Habila.
What transported me most in Oil on Water was the chronology. Our intrepid but callow reporter Rufus heads into the Niger Delta with a very flawed father-figure, Zaq, originally intending to meet up with some rebel guerrillas (under the leadership of the shadowy “Professor”) to negotiate for the return of a hostage. The hostage, Isabelle Floode, is the wife of a bigshot oil executive, and thus seemingly a pawn in the fight between the rebels and the Nigerian . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The New York Times and I agree, Vollmann’s latest book is not very good.
I feel like, recently, Vollmann’s been a lot better at nonfiction than fiction. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the next installment of his “Seven Dreams” series, in theory publishing next year.
A cool list by Janice Lee at Entropy mag.
Might the novel, as a form, signal a sort of failure inherent in its own slightly paradoxical but insistent existence? There is something that a novel, often in its ability to pause, or in its longness or sheer density, can achieve that other forms cannot. But in the ambition to get at something so indescribable that the mere attempt requires an entire novel to represent the attempt at its description, this is a failure in itself, the epic as a sort of fabrication or proportional importance to conduct . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I can’t recall where I first heard about Frank Kermode’s The Sense of an Ending, but I’m glad I finally picked up my copy off the shelf and read it. Yes, this is a book with a few longueurs, but forget about that: for the great majority of the time, my God, this man is on fire.
Basically, this is Kermode’s book-length inquiry into why the novel as a form requires an ending (or perhaps a “sense of an ending”). And it’s actually a very good question. Poems and criticism (to name two genres of writing) don’t . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Interesting essay at The Point on Subtle Bodies, the latest Norman Rush novel.
I get where Charles Finch is coming from (Mortals was a bit of a slog in places), and I agree with what he’s saying—Rush’s observations are awesome—but I have to put in one big caveat. Mating was as riveting as they come.
On those first and third levels of the art of the novel, Rush is only an equivocal and intermittent master. Passages of his books, particularly Mortals, are beautifully plotted, but none of them could be called compulsive from . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Nice review here of Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s The Bill, which has been published in a stand-alone chapbook edition by Sylph Editions.
Apart from being much shorter than most of his other works (including the under-40 page Animalinside , another Sylph Editions production, with artwork by Max Neumann), The Bill appears lighter in mood than his other works. It addresses the creation of art works by the sixteenth-century Venetian painter Palma Vecchio (c. 1480-1528; he is also known as Iacopo Negretti), four of which are reproduced in part, with wry humour and suspicion, in one long sentence that, . . . continue reading, and add your comments