The Sleepwalker for a review for the Review of Contemporary Fiction. It's one of the most exciting things I've read this year. Read it. " />

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

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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.


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  • 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
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  • Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente September 15, 2014
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  • The Ants by Sawako Nakayasu September 15, 2014
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Read Margarita Karapanou!

I just got finished reading Margarita Karapanou’s novel The Sleepwalker for a review for the Review of Contemporary Fiction.

It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve read this year. Read it.

I asked to review The Sleepwalker pretty much on the strength of the incredible praise for Karapanou in the panel that Hilary Plum arranged for The Quarterly Conversation. I’m so glad I did. The book is a little like Thomas Pynchon in its surreal realism, although it feels modernist to me in the precision and originality of the prose. It also reminds me a bit of a naive novel, as if Karapanou just decided to pick up a pen one day and started writing. It doesn’t feel overbaked or purposeful or part of any school. It’s more sui generis than anything.

Here’s what novelist Amanda Michalopoulou said about The Sleepwalker in Hilary’s panel:

I was 19 years old, a student of French literature, when I read The Sleepwalker. I realized then that books can trap you in a different kind of reality, their own, which can be slower, stranger, more important that the reality we experience. This was a revelation for me. The other revelation was that people in novels like hers talk about the important things in life without statements, they just have casual dialogs that appear normal on the page and yet are basic truths that make you feel a bit dizzy, like you had a lot of wine. This feeling has never changed. Whenever I go back to Kassandra, for instance, one of my favorite books, I meet the same surreal figure, this little girl, with her extravagant friends who talk like we talk in dreams. And then I am reassured that another reality is possible.

Here’s a review in Words Without Borders.

Here’s an interview with Karapanou’s English-language translator, Karen Emmerich, on the author.

Here’s George Fragopoulos on Karapanou.

As I understand it, her other two novels–Kassandra and the Wolf and Rien Ne Va Plus are even better.

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  2. About a Mountain — Read It Since I’m currently reading John D’Agata’s book-length essay, About a Mountain, for an upcoming review, I don’t want to say too much about it. But,...
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2 comments to Read Margarita Karapanou!

  • Paul

    Note that Rien Ne Va Plus is available for the Kindle, though neither of the other two titles presently are. Can there be any good reason for making one of the books in a newly-translated author’s catalogue into an e-book, but not the others? Is this typical of Amazon, perhaps testing the waters for interest before going to the (additional, though surely minimal) expense of Kindle-fying the other titles?

  • Stephen

    Seems like the perfect book to inaugurate this years patio season.

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