I’ve met people from the LTI, and, well, it’s very clear that they’re deadly serious about getting Korean literature into the Anglosphere. And they’ve done a good job. This is what government subsidization and a real work ethic can get you.
Though I do have to say, chasing Nobels sounds like a recipe for mediocre literature.
Kim Seong-kon is the president of LTI Korea, and on the same day I visit the Book Center, I interview him in his fifth-floor office. He’s wearing a cardigan and a pinstriped suit, a snazzy blend of professor and preppy Korean. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I don’t think anyone is going to disagree with the claim that a book should be judged first and foremost by the quality of the writing, but this seems a little too willfully naïve to me. The fact is that whether or not you want them to, associations based on (for instance) the author, the translator (if there is one), the nation/region/state/city of origin, the period in which the book was produced, the subject-matter, the font, the pagination, the quality of the editing, the writer’s “school” (or lack thereof), etc, etc, etc, are all going to impact . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Music & Literature has posted what appears to be Murnane’s own lists detailing what are in his archives.
Ranging from: “I decide that most books are crap.”
To: “I give a literary prize to a bush pig.”
To: “A letter about bowel movements et al.”
To: “a journal of more than 1,200 pages and about 350,000 words recording the life and thoughts of Gerald Murnane between 1958 and 1972.”
Wow. Bizarre and compelling . . .
McSweeney’s comes up with a pretty smart idea.
To celebrate its 15th birthday, McSweeney’s has launched a crowdfunding campaign geared to raise… $15. The idea here isn’t to meet the goal (which has already happened) it’s to hold “the most successful campaign of its kind. Percentage-wise.” So far, it’s working splendidly: the publishing concern is beating expectations by 86,046 percent, with 223 backers and a month to go.
I’m not sure where this is coming from, but in his Bookforum review of Sergio De La Pava’s sophomore novel, Personae, JW McCormack makes a bunch of assertions that are kinda amazing.
So, Personae is by composition less a novel than it is the kind of manifesto a crazy person binds with a rubber band and mails to NASA or the Library of Congress.
Sure, the book jams a bunch of texts, styles, and narrative strategies together, but there’ s a very consistent, easy-to-follow frame that provides an ongoing explanation for why they’re all there. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The author/translator duo behind the brilliant Devil’s Workshop are looking for a publisher for another one of Topol’s books. Here’s an excerpt at The Brooklyn Rail.
6. The Ticket, the Tunnel
Lyuba, yeah, Lyuba, Butch intoned to himself…over and over, to the rhythm of the road, deep in the bowels of a dream where what had really happened couldn’t have, he woke with a start.
He was sitting on a bus. Slowly, to keep from panicking, he took in the unfamiliar buildings, the streets with foreign names. Vera’s warm, dry hand rested in his. She was . . . continue reading, and add your comments
On his new novel, His Wife Leaves Him, at BOMB magazine.
TH His Wife Leaves Him is told in the third person. You use the third person the way another author would use the first person. Is that something you developed yourself?
SD Yes, it’s something I developed. I’m glad you caught that.
TH What effect do you want that to have?
SD Just what you said. It’s third person, but it sounds like first person. See, first person is, of course, very immediate, but you’re limited in what you could have happen between two characters. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Bookforum talks to the author of Blinding. We’re going to have an incredible interview with this guy in the winter issue of The Quarterly Conversation.
Bookforum: Let’s turn to your fiction. How did Blinding come about?
Cărtărescu: At a certain moment of my life, after I had written lots of poetry, I felt the need to do something crazy. I think that every writer should do something completely out of the box in his or her life. I wanted to write a very big book—over one thousand pages—but I didn’t know what shape it would take. . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Sam Sacks has a good response to Tim Parks’ “end of novel” piece in the NYRB Blog.
But Parks isn’t talking only about mediocre novels when he invokes the tyranny of tradition. By his way of thinking, anyone who uses elements of conventional forms has done so out of either unthinking habit or unwilling necessity.
But this is untrue. For many, if not most, writers, things like plot, character development, and catharsis are not narrative fallbacks but dynamic tools that give shape to the stories they’re passionate to tell or develop ideas that are uppermost on . . . continue reading, and add your comments
For once I’m happy to hear about a corporate publisher paying a ludicrously high advance.
It was even more evidence that the long novel is experiencing a resurgence, as a dozen publishers competed for the rights to release the book, set in New York City in the 1970s. “City on Fire” was written by Garth Risk Hallberg, a 34-year-old who has contributed to The New York Times Book Review and The Millions. Publishers who had a copy of the manuscript — and said they could concentrate on little else until they had finished reading it — rapturously . . . continue reading, and add your comments