Showing posts from February, 2010

Michal Ajvaz - Evil gangrene that will gradually overwhelm everything. The letters exhale a poison that discreetly corrodes the familiar world

Michal Ajvaz, The Other City (Dalkey Archive Press, 2009)

«In this strange and lovely hymn to Prague, Michal Ajvaz repopulates the city of Kafka with ghosts, eccentrics, talking animals, and impossible statues, all lurking on the peripheries of a town so familiar to tourists. TheOther City is a guidebook to this invisible,"other Prague," overlapping the workaday world: a place where libraries can turn into jungles, secret passages yawn beneath our feet, and waves lap at our bedspreads. Heir to the tradition and obsessions of Jorge Luis Borges, as well as the long and distinguished line of Czech fantasists, Ajvaz's Other City is the emblem of all the worlds we are blind to, being caught in our own ways of seeing.»

«In Ajvaz's first novel to be translated into English, a Borgesian cohort of freakish creatures, talking birds and eccentric city dwellers lurk on the margins of an alternative Prague. An unnamed protagonist learns that a book written in an unearthly language …

Daniel Borzutzky - My lord is a big, brutal ruffian and his Godmen are bigger than your Godmen

Daniel Borzutzky, Arbitrary Tales (Ravenna Press, 2007)

"'History, we are taught, is arbitrary, if there is any enjoyment to be derived from it, it is in the playfulness of its constant revision.(Daniel Borzutzky)
In his Arbitrary Tales, Daniel Borzutzky does not withhold from us the pleasures of narrative; for he does relate, in many of his texts - perhaps most of them - stories that have anecdotal intention, in addition to temporal and spatial extension. The tales are crowded with incidents and characters set against contemporary or medieval landscapes (or their cunning admixture), which receive from their creator sufficient specificity to make them real; i.e. they have the weight of fictitious place. Even in the case of
Little villages made entirely of dust and lint
Borzutzky's places have a Max Ernst-like strange familiarity, or familiar strangeness.
Incidents and characters are caused to proliferate to an astonishing degree and in an amazing diversity of forms. One is led…

Zachary Mason - Odysseus in the Borgesland: Alternative episodes, fragments, and revisions of Homeroids

Zachary Mason, The Lost Books of the Odyssey (Starcherone Books, 2007)

«Following the structure of the ancient Greek classic, The Lost Books of the Odyssey features alternative episodes, fragments, and revisions of Homer's original Odyssey and, equipped as well with a faux-authoritative scholarly introduction, richly carries off the illusion of being the lost ur-text of Homer's masterpiece. Justifying comparison with the great postmodern fictive hoaxes of Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, and Robert Coover, this is a one-of-a-kind book destined to become a classic in its own right. The Lost Books of the Odyssey was selected for the Starcherone Fiction Prize by final judge Carole Maso in Starcherone Books's 4th annual blind-judged competition.»

"Mason's book is incredibly impressive. Beautifully written, intelligent, war-inflected in all the most ancient and contemporary ways, filled with all kinds of pleasures. An ambitious feast!" Carole Maso

"A stirrin…