Berfrois

Upward Jim

Upward Jim

For all the efforts of the egalitarian left to deny it, the ability to get on, get by (or sometimes only stay put) remains a vital part of the average human experience...

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Are you reading this on a screen?

Are you reading this on a screen?

Joshua Cohen (born 1980) is somewhat younger than Shteyngart and company. His 2015 novel, Book of Numbers, was the first of his books to appear in hardcover and to be brought out by a large publisher.

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The bread, the wine…

The bread, the wine…

The lapse in marital fidelity in ‘Online’ is one of the many instances of complicated relationships in the book, in which most are strained or not quite realised.

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Sorokin has long been tarred as a scandalmonger and, even worse, a postmodernist…

Sorokin has long been tarred as a scandalmonger and, even worse, a postmodernist…

I’ve been waiting for years for Vladimir Sorokin’s second novel, Norma (The Norm), to appear in English translation. It wasn’t published in the author’s native Russia until 1994, a decade after Sorokin finished it, so perhaps there’s hope yet.

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Engineering Screak

Engineering Screak

A School for Fools is a Soviet underground classic of the 1970s, circulating only in samizdat, or self-published literature.

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‘The mediocrity of fiction is really to do with feeling cosy’

‘The mediocrity of fiction is really to do with feeling cosy’

Diski’s writing has never left much out, and is rarely small. Nony, who narrates Like Mother (1989), is an anencephalous baby, born without a brain, who tells her mother’s story in conversation with an interlocutor who is explicitly non-existent.

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Did Pynchon publish a novel under the pseudonym ‘Adrian Jones Pearson’?

Did Pynchon publish a novel under the pseudonym ‘Adrian Jones Pearson’?

Is it possible that the literary sensibility—person—that produced a clutch of novels under the name Thomas Pynchon has had a fat new novel out since April, under a different name, only to encounter a virtual vacuum of notice?

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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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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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