Monthly Archives: May 2009

Strauch’s Lament

Reading Thomas Bernhard’s Frost is exhilarating. Repeatedly I must put the book to one side while I let the writing coalesce. This is the first Bernhard book I have read, though he has been in my library for a while awaiting … Continue reading

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Less Chance Than Choice

My custom when deciding what to read next is to follow fiction with non-fiction. That way, characters stay where they’re supposed to. If I read two novels back-to-back, Beckett’s Celia from Murphy is liable to slip into the inn in … Continue reading

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Narrowing Further But Deeper

After writing the post above, the next blog that I read had posted this excerpt from Thomas Bernhard: ‘I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning … Continue reading

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Deep and Narrow

In defending Beckett from a bitchy put-down, Patrick Kurp of Anecdotal Evidence states: Had Beckett read only Dante, Milton, Swift and Johnson (odd that Donoghue does not include Shakespeare and Joyce), and read them deeply and across a lifetime, he would … Continue reading

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Kafka on Reading

Altogether I think that we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So … Continue reading

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Misheard

From the NYT obituary of writer and scholar Alfred Appel Jr. – Speaking at a memorial service for Nabokov in Manhattan in 1977, Mr. Appel recalled telling him about an antiwar protest at Northwestern during which a student had called … Continue reading

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Beckett’s View of Murphy

I’ve yet to read any of the recently published Beckett letters. As I am currently reading Murphy for the first time, this snagged my attention: Beckett’s novel Murphy, completed in 1936, the first work in which this chronically self-doubting author seems to … Continue reading

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Loiterly Intentions

The recent edition of The Review of Contemporary Fiction, the first I have read (with thanks to Vertigo for the introduction), introduced me to the ugly but useful new term loiterature. Coined by Ross Chambers to signify the digressive, category-blurring style … Continue reading

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Nabokov Influences in American Beauty

Recently I watched Sam Mende’s American Beauty, possibly the fourth time of viewing since it was released. I was thrilled to serendipitously discover that its Nabokovian influences are deeper than at the thematic level. Kevin Spacey’s rather sinister character Lester Burnham’s … Continue reading

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Supplementary Reading

In addition to my daily literary consumption, there are several magazines that I consider worth reading. Every few months I look at the magazines at the train station and at the London Review Bookshop and, if an unknown (to me) … Continue reading

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