Three Recommendations

Three books I’ve been enjoying recently that you might want to take a look at.

Reconsolidation: Or, it’s the ghosts who will answer you is a lyric essay by Janice Lee, a little bit of John D’Agata, a little Roland Barthes. About the sudden death of the author’s mother, this book feels as though it’s a private letter being written to the reader, it’s just that immediate and striking. It’s passionate, but not melodramatic, very purposeful and effective in what it does. Here’s a review.

The Strangest by Michael Seidlinger is a contemporary take on Camus’s The Stranger. He takes us into the consciousness of a person so withdrawn that he must have some sort of social anxiety disorder; every bit as affectless as Camus’s stranger, his smartphone is his only lifeline of communication with people, even when they’re right on the subway with him. I like how the author constructs the protagonist’s consciousness, with the integration of social media being elegant and measured, and I particularly like a few pivotal scenes where what is happening is carefully elided by the author—it’s very effective. Here’s an excerpt.

Sebald’s Vision is the most recent entry in the genre of Sebald criticism, this one by Carol Jacobs. This is an academic text, but it avoids the traps of academic writing and is, in fact, quite well-written and with interesting takes on a sizable portion of Sebald’s body of work. There are real insights here for people who like Sebald, or the themes he covered. There’s a review of the book here, and you can have a look at it for yourself in Google preview.

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The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


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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