Isn't it Ironic?
William Gaddis’s J R is hard. There, I’ve said it. Rick Moody’s wrong, in his introduction to the Dalkey Archive edition, to claim as emphatically as he does that the novel “is not difficult” (emphasis in original), if we’re sticking to conventional definitions of the word difficult. Yes, J R isn’t difficult the way that Ulysses or Gravity’s Rainbow or even Infinite Jest is difficult. For the...
These novels are Harry Potter for sexually active female adults.– Gioconda Belli on Fifty Shades of Grey in the LA Review of Books
The most important literature we write in the Anthropocene will be the words...– David Biello, “Welcome to the Anthropocene” (via millionsmillions)
Read and Not Heard? Gaddis at the National Book...
When Gravity’s Rainbow won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1974, Thomas Pynchon’s publisher arranged for the comedian Professor Irwin Corey to accept on Pynchon’s behalf. Corey’s rambling, surrealist performance (including a streaker running across the stage) turned Pynchon’s absence from the ceremony into a manic spectacle worthy of one of his novels. Two years later, J R took the fiction...
The week in reading… LAX “Theme Building” The Trystero exists! “Thomas Pynchon‘s The Crying of Lot 49 revolves around a conspiracy theory about a secret postal system called “The Trystero.” Alongside the release of Pynchon’s complete eBook backlist, Trystero signs have been planted in 200 spots around the world. These signs link to an online message system, a 21st Century...
#OccupyGaddis began as a hashtag
…but has turned into much more. When the Los Angeles Review of Books approached me about reviewing William Gaddis’s 1975 novel J R, I jumped at the opportunity. As I mentioned in my first post, Gaddis has long been on my literary-historical radar, but I’ve never managed to get around to reading him, despite spending ten years as a Ph.D. student and postdoc specializing in postwar U.S....
NYRB Meet-up tonight, 6pm, Library Bar, Downtown... →
The Deryesque in All of Us...
by Michael Goetzman Gone are the halcyon days of consumer culture, when everyone watched the same TV spots, was drawn by the allure of Tomorrowland, and coveted the same big-finned Coupe de Villes. Blotting the old mass media culture from view is the ever-spreading cloud of the internet and its byzantine “network culture,” which Mark Dery, writer and cultural critic, anticipated in the nineties....
Welcome to the Anthropocene
by David Biello I LIVE IN A SUPERFUND site. So do you, no matter where you live. Despite environmental laws older than I am and the migration of U.S. heavy industry overseas, the toxic impacts of modern human life touch every inch of the U.S. And it’s not just the U.S., it’s North America, it’s Asia, it’s Antarctica, every inch of everywhere really — even the organic...
Crying in Public: Colin Dickey at LARB
Dickey’s saints are distinctly undomesticated, and if they are mostly long dead, they are likewise still very much alive (they are “zombies in their faith,” in another unruly analogy). Meandering back and forth across the centuries, Dickey argues that the saints are always untimely, “always anachronistic — an occupation from another time that has no real corollary in contemporary life.” -...
(Please don’t eat the library paste, via letterology) [Audio] Zadie Smith reads Frank O’Hara’s poem “Animals” (quite beautifully, we might add): I wouldn’t want to be faster / or greener than now if you were with me O you / were the best of all my days Deborah Weisgal on the “Mother of All Girls’ Books”: “Little Women is brutal, a ferocious wolf dressed up...
Completely Smothered: Parts 1 & 2 Available Now
“ “NOBODY LIKES A CENSOR — they stifle the singular, the personal, the human — and no one knows this better than John Kaye. When Kaye, who worked briefly in “program practices,” wrote “Smothered” for us, he said he didn’t want it published so much as “released into the world.” At the surface, it’s about a young writer unwillingly...
The Failure of William Gaddis
#OccupyGaddis begins today. Time to pull that neglected Penguin Classics edition of J R off the shelf, or pick up the handsome new edition from Dalkey Archive, or, if you’re lucky enough, gently reread your first edition (jacket pictured). However you must join us for LARB’s summer reading challenge of J R, winner of the 1976 National Book Award. Follow #OccupyGaddis, and read...
Senior Fiction Editor Matthew Specktor writes to... →
“Your mother is stubborn, and I am stubborn (however malleable I might be when prodded relentlessly for dessert), and curiosity is the coin of the realm for me. It’s all I’ve got, as I certainly don’t have money, and whatever I’ve got of taste — that dubious virtue by which we attempt to justify our love of one thing over our contempt for another — may or may not be transmissible. I’ve...
LARB Talks to Spook Magazine
The New Inquiry’s Malcolm Harris and The Los Angeles Review of Books’s Evan Kindley talked on Twitter with Spook Magazine’s one-man editorial team Jason Parham about the new publication’s founding, goals, and forthcoming first issue. Evan Kindley: I’ll start us off. Jason, how long have you been planning Spook? When was it born? Jason Parham: The idea was born in December. I officially started...
The Complete Bradbury Tribute at LARB
1. The Bradbury Era by F.X. Feeney 2. Fairy Tales about the Modern World by Jonathan R. Eller, Neil Gaiman, Robin Anne Reid and William F. Touponce 3. Nightmarish Glimpses of Our Inner Selves by Brian Attebery, John Clute, Rob Latham and Gary K. Wolfe