Music by Miyake, Choreography by Bausch

The music of Jun Miyake and the choreography of Pina Bausch produces extraordinary art.

Pina Bausch’s Two Cigarettes in the Dark and Full Moon are coming to Sadler’s Wells in February 2013.

“Like reading Thomas Pynchon with your ears… Beside this, John Cage’s emancipation of noise sounds like a polite little art-school exercise in smugness.”
Slakk Magazine on Jun Miyake

Pure Literature

Biblioklept’s excellent post ‘Why I Abandoned Chad Harbach’s Over-Hyped Novel The Art of Fielding After Only 100 Pages’  is worth your time, as are the comments that follow about the nature of ‘literary fiction.’

One commenter adds, “Also, have you heard of the distinction made in Japanese between literary fiction and ‘pure literature?'” I haven’t but it sounds suspiciously like the old high/middlebrow debate, interesting in an abstract way but endlessly open to debate and reinterpretation. When I have some time I will follow up the sources of the argument .

Biblioklept kicked off a list of ‘strong/strange’ literature, based on a Bloom argument that, ‘it is the strangeness and originality of a work that confers its literary power.’ This position makes sense to me, as does Biblioklept’s ‘short list of relatively contemporary books (past thirty or fifty years) that I think will challenge readers who want more from their novels than a retread of the old-fashioned and well behaved.’

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, Renata Adler’s Speedboat, David Foster Wallace’s novels and short stories, Cormac McCarthy’s novels (especially Blood Meridian and Suttree), Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker or Kleinzheit, Barry Hannah’s Airships and Ray, anything by W.G. Sebald, William T. Vollmann’s The Rifles or Butterfly Stories, Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask, Lars Iyers’s Spurious, PK Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Gordon Lish’s short stories, Denis Johnson’s Angels, Thomas Pynchon’s V, Don DeLillo’s Underworld or White Noise.

To which I added, over coffee and cornflakes (a dozen others occur to me now):

Most of Geoff Dyer’s work (especially Out of Sheer Rage: In the Shadow of D.H.Lawrence), Peter Handke’s Across, Thomas Bernhard’s Correction, Tejo Cole’s Open City, J. M. Coetzee’s novels, Lydia Davis’s novels and short stories, Gerald Murnane’s Barley Patch and Vyacheslav Pyetsukh’s The New Moscow Philosophy.

UPDATE

Words Beyond Borders offered the following suggestions: The Dictionary Of Khazars by Milorad Pavic and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Wizard of the Crow. Saramago and Murakami works would also make my list. Thank you for the two titles, both new to me, and I would endorse Saramago and Murakami.

I don’t wish to poach any suggestions from Bibilioklept, so I have closed this post for further comments. If you have any additions to Biblioklept’s list, please head over to add them here.

Book Abandoned

Usually I withstand the hyperbole about the latest ‘must-read’ book, but I have been frequently curious about David Foster Wallace. Some readers that I respect influenced me to order the recently published, unfinished The Pale King. In New York last week, I spotted a new edition of his first novel The Broom of the System. The cover of the Penguin Ink edition hooked me. Today, eighty pages in and the novel is chucked aside. It is not for me, a shimmering imitation of Pynchon and Salinger. Am I missing something?

Read and Cold

There is a near infinite list of writers that I will never read. There are some few writers who compel me to read everything that I can get my hands on.

A dispiriting, small group of writers are those I would like to read, and have attempted, but somehow their work has failed to engage me. These include Henry James, Iris Murdoch, Thomas Pynchon, John McGahern and Patrick White. With the exception of James, I have read at least one book of the others on the list. Though I appreciate the quality of the writing, the book left me cold.
If you love any of those writers, I would appreciate a suggestion of where to begin.