TQC Favorite Reads of 2013: Madeleine LaRue

We are running down favorite reads of 2013 from Quarterly Conversation contributors. This list comes from Madeleine LaRue, whose most recent contribution to The Quarterly Conversation is an essay on the fiction of Jáchym Topol.

To read all entries in this series, click here.

Red Doc> by Anne Carson (Knopf)

I did practically nothing (or wanted to do practically nothing) between January and April but read Anne Carson. Red Doc>, the sequel to her much-loved Autobiography of Red, is one of her strangest, most enigmatic, and most haunting works. Even after dozens of re-readings, it has never failed to surprise me, nor to somehow elude me.

Fair Play by Tove Jansson (NYRB Classics)

Like all the best of Tove Jansson’s work, Fair Play is quietly full of life, presenting stories about everything from hanging art on the wall to accidental bird regicide with wise and melancholy humor. The novel is based on Jansson’s life with her partner, the Finnish artist Tuulikki Pietilä, and is one of the only convincing love stories I’ve ever read.

Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai (New Directions)

I reviewed Seiobo There Below for The Coffin Factory earlier this year, and now can only say that even among Krasznahorkai’s already magnificent oeuvre, this is a novel with very few rivals.

The Enchanted Wanderer by Nikolai Leskov (Knopf)

Leskov’s thrilling stories sometimes belong as much to fairy tale as to nineteenth-century realism, but this odd combination only strengthens their appeal. In Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s translation, English readers can finally understand why Leskov is considered the greatest of Russian storytellers.

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

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