The Complete Angler
Donavan Hall

…a new kind of narrator is born: no longer a man who describes things he sees, but at the same time a man who invents the things around him and who sees the things he invents.

—Alain Robbe-Grillet, “Realism to Reality” in For a New Novel


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Procured a copy of the Complete Stories of Clarice Lispector today from The Community Bookstore in Park Slope. Preparing for the event on the 27th hosted by Porochista Khakpour at WORD Brooklyn.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Katherine Silver’s translation of César Aira’s Dinner will be published by New Directions and appears on 6 October 2015.

SF short story? A writer is invited to travel to Ecuador and ply his trade for a time in Yachay City of Knowledge.

If Joyce wrote Ulysses today, Leo Bloom would never return home.

Scott Esposito interviewed Enrique Vila-Matas for the Paris Review about his novel Never Any End to Paris.

Larry Rohter reviewed Clarice Lispector’s The Complete Stories for the New York Times. The Complete Stories was recently published by New Directions.

This from LitHub: “Charles Bukowski’s Rules for Writing.” On Writing by Charles Bukowski (his ghost?) will be published later this month by Ecco.

Vila-Matas in China. The Shanghai Book Fair runs from Tuesday 18 August to the 25th.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Café Perec apparently is the name of Enrique Vila-Matas’ regular column in El País. Curious about the name, I found a short piece by Vila-Matas called “Café Perec” which identifies it as an actual Parisian café with the much less interesting real world name, Café Tabac. It’s in the Place Saint-Sulpice, the place which Georges Perec selected as the subject for his work, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris.

There are many things in place Saint-Sulpice; for instance: a district council building, a financial building, a police station, three cafés, one of which sells tobacco and stamps, a movie theater, a church on which Le Vau, Gittard, Oppenord, Servandoni, and Chalgrin have all worked, and which is dedicated to a chaplain of Clotaire II, who was bishop of Bourges from 624 to 644 and whom we celebrate on 17 January, a publisher, a funeral parlor, a travel agency, a bus stop, a tailor, a hotel, a fountain decorated with the statues of four great Christian orators (Bossuet, Fénelon, Fléchier, and Masillon), a newsstand, a seller of pious objects, a parking lot, a beauty parlour, and many other things as well.

My intention in the pages that follow is to describe the rest instead: that which is generally not taken note of, that which is not noticed, that which has no importance: what happens when nothing happens other than the weather, people, cars and clouds.

—from An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by Georges Perec

Tweets as a literary art form. From the twitter novel (twovel?) to… David Markson. A new book by Tao Lin (@tao_lin) and Mira Gonzalez (@miragonz), Selected Tweets from Hobart. Both were interviewed by Sheila Heti for The Believer as part of a series called “What Would Twitter Do?” (The link is to Mira Gonzalez’s interview. Links to the other interviews are at the bottom of the post.)

Valerie Miles reviewed Enrique Vila-Matas’ The Illogic of Kassel and A Brief History of Portable Literature for the New York Times. Valerie Miles’ translation of V-M’s Because She Never Asked will be published by New Directions Pearls and appears in November 2015.

The thrill of being someone else, playful insouciance and literary high jinks, engaging the ghosts of artists past as if they were contemporaries in a continuing metafictional conversation — these essential elements thread throughout Mr. Vila-Matas’s body of work, creating an atlas of episodes in the life of a peripatetic writer.

—from “Review: Enrique Vila-Matas Plots His Own Awakening in ‘The Illogic of Kassel’” by Valerie Miles in the New York Times, 12 August 2015

Scott Esposito interviewed Don Bartlett for the Paris Review about his translation of Knausgaard’s gigantic novel, My Struggle.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

What’s above is “inside the whale.”

…books, once they are written, have no need of their authors. If they have something to say, they will sooner or later find readers; if not, they won’t. There are plenty of examples. I very much love those mysterious volumes, both ancient and modern, that have no definite author but have had and continue to have an intense life of their own. They seem to me a sort of nighttime miracle, like the gifts of the Befana, which I waited for as a child. I went to bed in great excitement and in the morning I woke up and the gifts were there, but no one had seen the Befana. True miracles are the ones whose makers will never be known; they are the very small miracles of the secret spirits of the home or the great miracles that leave us truly astonished. I still have this childish wish for marvels, large or small, I still believe in them.

—from ‘“Promotion is expensive”: Elena Ferrante on anonymity’ posted by the London Review Bookshop.

I know well the happiness of being a nobody, who is at the same time someone who is writing.

What’s below is “outside the whale.”

Apparently, it wasn’t me who pioneered the field of fictional journalism.

Café Perec: “Diez grandes que no lee nadie” by Enrique Vila-Mats is a response to an essay by Stephen Sparks, “Ten Great Writers Nobody Reads” which appeared on LitHub on 24 June 2015. Sparks’ essay begins with the comforting words: “No one will read your book.”

What to do with the unpublished, unpublishable novel that sits in the bottom drawer of your desk collecting dust: leave it there. Although, I admit that I’m just a little sad that I’ll never get to read Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite’s Slaughter at Suez (which at first looked to me like Slaughter at Suarez, as in Luis…).

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The European leagues are beginning their 2015-2016 seasons, but even before the first kick all the major storylines are already written. But the fact that the broad narratives are predictable (for example, Bayern Munich will most assuredly win the Bundesliga title again this year) doesn’t appear to bother very many supporters.

The late Marxist writer Daniel Bensaïd is said to have admired Eduardo Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shadow.

Shortly before he died of liver failure in July 2003, Roberto Bolaño remarked that he would have preferred to be a detective rather than a writer: “I would have liked to be a homicide detective, much more than a writer. Of that I’m absolutely sure. A string of homicides. Someone who could go back alone, at night, to the scene of the crime, and not be afraid of ghosts.”

The case of Bolaño’s isolation for years in Blanes reminds me of those books Elias Canetti talks about in THE HUMAN PROVINCE, books we have at our side many years without reading, books we don’t leave behind but take with us from one city to another, from one country to another, carefully packaged up, even though there isn’t much space; we’ll have a flick through on taking them out of the case, perhaps; yet we studiously avoid reading any phrase in its entirety. Later, years down the line, the moment comes in which suddenly, as if compelled by an order from on high, we can’t help but reach for one of these books and read it straight through, cover to cover; this book then serves as a revelation. At that moment we know why we’ve paid it such close attention. It had to live so long by our side; it had to travel; it had to take up space; it had to be a burden, and now the purpose of its journey is revealed; now it lifts its veil; now it sheds light on the years it lived silently by our side.

— from “Writers from the Old Day” by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by J.S. Tennant for THE WHITE REVIEW

Jorge Semprún was interviewed by Lila Azam Zanganeh for the Paris Review’s The Art of Fiction series, No. 192.

After years of resistance, I’ve finally decided to give Finnegans Wake a go. In addition to my Oxford edition, I’m exploring the Glosses of Finnegans Wake, a kind of annotated hypertext exploratorium.

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