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Review of Insel

Pretty harsh review of Insel by Mina Loy, just out from Melville House, but Kris knows his stuff. I can sympathize with Melville House for not providing scholarly apparatus, though. That’s pretty much impossible—and completely detrimental—for a trade publisher.

Insel is Loy’s only novel, and it was never published during her lifetime. Unlike the compact, concise, and dagger-sharp precision found in all her verse, Insel lacks these qualities which make Loy’s presence among the modernists, surrealists, Dadaists, cubists, and other bohemian art groups in the interwar period such a crucial presence. And Loy is indeed seminal to this period, both as a poet and as a curatorial presence to artistic figures as pivotal as Giacometti, Dalí, Magritte, Man Ray, and many others.

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I read Insel as an undergrad. Probably my least favorite assigned reading ever.


The Surrender is Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning his lifelong desire to be a woman.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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