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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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.


  • A Legacy by Sybille Bedford March 15, 2015
    Sybille Bedford had the benefit—or bad fortune, however you see it—of being born into the German aristocracy in 1911. Her father was a retired lieutenant colonel and art collector from the agrarian south, from a Roman Catholic family in fiscal decline. Her mother came from a wealthy German-Jewish family from Hamburg. A widower from his first marriage, Bedfor […]
  • Reviving Antal Szerb March 15, 2015
    Antal Szerb’s lithe, lively, and wholly endearing fiction is peopled by male dreamers on spiritual journeys of self-discovery. Each one sets out on his respective mini-mission with good intentions but knows from the outset that there are only so many harsh truths he can withstand. In this respect, all Szerb’s protagonists seem to have heeded the advice of Gr […]
  • 39 Africans Walk into a Bar March 15, 2015
    New anthologies of African fiction seem to materialize virtually every year, if not more often in recent years. When presented with the physical fact of yet another new anthology of African fiction, the immediate question, one which I was asked when I pressed the warm, bound pages of the Africa39 anthology into the even warmer hands of a new acquaintance, wa […]
  • The Country Road by Regina Ullmann March 15, 2015
    This collection of short stories, her first to appear in English, counters material poverty with a fulfilling and deeply spiritual relationship with the natural world. Ullmann herself was no stranger to hardship. A depressive, she was plagued by personal and professional crises. Financial constraints forced her to send her illegitimate children to the countr […]
  • The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura March 14, 2015
    The Fall of Language in the Age of English stirred up debate upon its publication in Japan in 2008, and it’s possible it will do so in the U.S. with its arrival in Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter's translation. In their introduction, Yoshihara and Winters Carpenter, point out that Japanese reviewers accused Mizumura of being a jingoist, an e […]
  • Another View: Tracing the Foreign in Literary Translation by Eduard Stoklosinski March 14, 2015
    Another View demonstrates exciting potential in translation study and praxis. It is especially significant in deconstructing assumptions about fluency and linguistic identity. The author makes some persuasive arguments for considering and even preferring non-native translation of texts, the most controversial of which is the possibility that linguistic compe […]
  • The Latest Five from Dalkey Archive’s “Library of Korea” Series March 14, 2015
    Despite South Korea having the kind of vibrant literary scene you'd expect from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, we're still not exactly inundated with English translations of South Korean fiction. Given this dearth, Dalkey Archive Press's Library of Korean Literature series, twenty five titles published in collab […]
  • B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman March 14, 2015
    here’s a conspicuous history of books that simply should not work: Books like U & I by Nicholson Baker, a book-length exercise in “memory criticism,” where Baker traces Updike’s influence on his own writing life while studiously not actually re-reading any of Updike’s books. Or books like Out of Sheer Rage, Geoff Dyer’s book that procrastinates away from […]
  • The Valerie Miles Interview March 14, 2015
    The idea was to uncover the secret life of these texts, why do their creators consider them their best work? What’s the clandestine, the underground, the surreptitious meaning or attachment? Where’s the kernel, the seed from which a body of work grew, what the driving obsession? Is it something sentimental, something technical, maybe even something spiritual […]
  • On Being Blue by William H. Gass March 14, 2015
    Look up at the sky, or down into the ocean, and what color do you see? We see blue, but not Homer—he never once employs the term throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey, famously calling the sea "wine-dark" and the heavens "bronze." Neither did the Greek philosopher Xenophanes say blue—he described the rainbow as having only three colors. Th […]

The Aztec Boom: Mexico’s Resurgent Literature

Mexico
Argentine arts magazine Ñ is celebrating the resurgence of Mexican literature. According to Ñ, various signs all point to an Aztec boom:

Este 2009 está siendo el año prodigioso de la literatura mexicana. Al menos, visto desde el otro lado del charco. Varios indicios nos conducen a semejante conclusión. Primero: hace tan sólo quince días cerró sus puertas el Salón del Libro de París, uno de los más importantes de Europa, con México como país invitado… y batiendo récords de asistencia de público – 198.150 personas, un 20% más que el año anterior-. Segundo: las editoriales españolas – especialmente las de Barcelona, como Anagrama o Mondadori- se han lanzado a publicar autores mexicanos (lo que representa el paso previo para que lleguen a las editoriales latinoamericanas), y en los últimos meses han coincidido varias novedades que dan, en las librerías, una sensación de opulencia (es más: varias de esas editoriales han abierto ya sus sedes en el DF e imprimen allí los ejemplares destinados al mercado local, como Anagrama o Tusquets). Y tercero: el contenido de estas novelas muestra unos argumentos frescos, de autores a menudo treintañeros, que se atreven a experimentar, y cuyo ritmo conecta con un lector joven, que empatiza con unas realidades a veces frenéticas y aceleradas – no muy lejanas al cine de González Iñárritu-, o con unas exploraciones de la soledad contemporánea que recuerdan a un Murakami pasado por salsa picante.

I'm not one to argue with their findings. Just this Monday I reported the fine news that Graywolf is publishing the first English translation of Daniel Sada. Likewise, I was impressed by Dalkey's anthology of contemporary Mexican literature.

I'm also pleased to report that we'll have a feature, with a lengthy excerpt, on a book some have called the "great Mexican novel" in the summer issue of The Quarterly Conversation.

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More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Someone Translate Daniel Sada After reading this review in Letras y Libres, I’m amazed that none of Daniel Sada’s novels are available in English. (Although, to Dalkey’s credit, a...
  2. Cuban Publishing in Decay Letras y Libres has an extensive article on what’s become of Havana during the Castro years, especially as pertains to its arts scene. Among other...
  3. El Tercer Reich to Be Published by Anagrama Well, the Bolano posthumous publication brigade is getting started. Via Moleskine Literario I see that El Pais is reporting that Spanish powerhouse publisher Anagrama will...
  4. 450 Pages of Never-Published Cortazar Coming It turns out that there’s a lot more than three unpublished stories from Julio Cortazar. As Ñ reports, a 450-page book containing collected stories, poems,...
  5. Cuban Hemingway Documents Digitized El Pais reports that though the U.S. and Cuba can’t come together on most issues, they can agree to join forces in digitizing Papa’s private...

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2 comments to The Aztec Boom: Mexico’s Resurgent Literature

  • Dr. Dirlewanger

    Perhaps it’d make sense to provide a translation when you’re quoting something in a language most of your blog’s visitors are unlikely to speak.

  • Cesar Bruto

    Que te hace pensar que la mayoria no lee en Espanol?
    (What makes you think that most of his readers don’t read Spanish?).

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