Berfrois

Albert Rolls on Thomas Pynchon

Albert Rolls on Thomas Pynchon

The Crying of Lot 49 is an embryonic encyclopaedic novel...

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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

Martin Johnson Heade, Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes, c. 1875 (detail) 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,...

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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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By its very nature, Hebrew fiction was shaped by its surrounding literary milieus…

By its very nature, Hebrew fiction was shaped by its surrounding literary milieus…

The resurrection of Hebrew from a “dead,” liturgical language into a living tongue remains dazzling, even a half-century after its initial establishment as an official state language. Once a purely literary language of Scripture and holy songs, Hebrew is now the native language of a populace of millions, and...

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Fantastika is, in fact, the spectrum itself…

Fantastika is, in fact, the spectrum itself…

From cover of The Fourth Circle, by Zoran Živković, 2005 edition From World Literature Today: Michael Morrison: You have allied your fiction with the literary tradition of Middle-European “fantastika.” How do you define this tradition? Which of its authors have influenced your work? Zoran Živković: The literary and geographical...

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Téa Obreht’s Well-Told Tiger Tale

Téa Obreht’s Well-Told Tiger Tale

From The New York Review of Books: The Tiger’s Wife, by a twenty-five-year-old Serbian who came to the US in 1997 at the age of twelve, has been praised-rightly in my view-as a remarkable first novel. Téa Obreht is an extraordinarily talented writer, skilled at combining different types of...

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