Berfrois

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #2

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #2

by Nicholas Rombes From Pond, by Claire-Louise Bennett, 2016. Everybody knows deep down that life is as much about the things that do not happen as the things that do and that’s not something that ought to be glossed over or denied because without frustration there would hardly be any need to daydream. The narrator…

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Peter Marshall reviews Purity

Peter Marshall reviews Purity

Purity can be a bit overstuffed with newsworthy items and references from the past several years of American life. He seems to want to write novels that would be candidates for the time vault, so that if people ever wonder what life was like in America at a certain...

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Arundhati Roy’s Return to Fiction

Arundhati Roy’s Return to Fiction

Arundhathi Roy in 2013. Photograph by Augustus Binu. From The New York Times: “I’ve always been slightly short with people who say, ‘You haven’t written anything again,’ as if all the nonfiction I’ve written is not writing,” Arundhati Roy said. It was July, and we were sitting in Roy’s living...

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Crocodile! Crocodile!

Crocodile! Crocodile!

Instead of page numbers, “The Crocodiles,” a novel by the Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha, is marked by 405 numbered, block paragraphs, the whole symmetrically framed by references to Allen Ginsberg.

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“I kind of look for stealth ways to write about writers”

“I kind of look for stealth ways to write about writers”

I’m just curious if that was something that just kind of happened in the process of writing the book or if you decided to do something that is a little bit more adventurous, or playful, or maybe even a little postmodern, dare I say it?

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Literature invariably does more than politics in fostering understanding of the Other…

Literature invariably does more than politics in fostering understanding of the Other…

‘Literature in modern Russia,’ writes historian Orlando Figes in A People’s Tragedy, his vast chronicle of the Russian Revolutions, ‘always was a surrogate for politics.’

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Where Headlong Stars Have Gone

Where Headlong Stars Have Gone

The last couple of years have finally allowed us to say this safely about Georgia – a nation, which, prior to the time of Shakespeare, possessed a literary inheritance almost comparable to that of England.

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Moby Dick is a wonderful target for critics who like to identify the books that Melville plundered…

Moby Dick is a wonderful target for critics who like to identify the books that Melville plundered…

Who Herman Melville was and what he actually thought about anything are altogether unsatisfying questions that have never been answered in a satisfying way.

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Words went scuttling past like beetles…

Words went scuttling past like beetles…

Alongside Schulz’s extraordinary fiction and his horrendous death, there remains one more element of his legend.

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at/to/on/no/of.

at/to/on/no/of.

At long last, an electronic book for review! Its title—the beginning of a script—is shebang!—hashbang, pound-bang, hash-exclam, hash-pling!

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With a Dying Catfish as Witness

With a Dying Catfish as Witness

Robinson’s latest novel, Lila, turns our attention to Lila Ames, who wanders into Gilead in search of work and soon becomes Ames’s second wife.

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are, in the wider scheme of things, small potatoes.

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A Flower, Given

A Flower, Given

Title page of Pomes Penyeach by James Joyce; initial letters designed and illuminated by Lucia Joyce. Source: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. by Anthony Domestico The 1932 Obelisk Press edition of Pomes Penyeach came at a crucial juncture in James Joyce’s writing career and in the...

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Ryan Chang on Kate Zambreno

Ryan Chang on Kate Zambreno

Photograph by kygp by Ryan Chang Green Girl: A Novel (P.S.), by Kate Zambreno, Emergency Press, 268 pp. When I’m trying to think about Lacan’s jouissance, I think of how my friends describe their trips on dimethyltriptamine, or DMT. DMT, naturally produced by our brains in the last minutes...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine, the heckling would start around page 10. ‘So Doc,’ relates a character called Denis (whose name, we are informed, is commonly pronounced to rhyme with...

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Akshay Pathak on Vijaydan Detha

Akshay Pathak on Vijaydan Detha

Vijaydan Detha, the fabulist, folklorist writer would have been pleased if one were to start talking about him with a chougou - a form of mostly nonsensical rhythm or rhyme he employed in most of his stories much in the oral tradition of storytelling that he found himself most...

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A thousand copies of Vargas Llosa’s novel were burned at the academy…

A thousand copies of Vargas Llosa’s novel were burned at the academy…

Tahitian Landscape, Paul Gauguin, 1893 From The Guardian: When Vargas Llosa was awarded the 2010 Nobel prize for literature, the Swedish Academy praised his “cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.” That assessment could still apply to The Dream of...

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