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Showing posts from May, 2015

Luis Chitarroni - A self-negating series of notes for an unfinished work of fiction, this astonishing book is made up of ideas for characters and plots, of literary references both real and invented, and is populated by an array of fictional authors and their respective literary cliques, all of whom sport multiple pseudonyms, publish their own literary journals, and, in turn, produce their own ideas for books, characters, and poems

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Luis Chitarroni, The No Variations: Diary of an Unfinished Novel, Darren Koolman, Dalkey Archive Press, 2013.
                 read it at Google Books

A self-negating series of notes for an unfinished work of fiction, this astonishing book is made up of ideas for characters and plots, of literary references both real and invented, and is populated by an array of fictional authors and their respective literary cliques, all of whom sport multiple pseudonyms, publish their own literary journals, and, in turn, produce their own ideas for books, characters, and poems . . . A dizzying look at the backrooms of literature, where aesthetic ambitions are forever under siege by petty squabbles, long-nurtured grudges, bankrupt publishers, and self-important critics, The No Variations is a serious game, or perhaps a frivolous tragedy, and is one of the great “novels” of contemporary Latin American literature.

“In this book—one of the most complex and challenging texts of Argentine literature in rec…

José Emilio Pacheco - a national classic. Las batallas is about adolescence, both of a boy named Carlos and of his country, Mexico. It is a look at memory—individual and collective—and the way that collective memory fuses into history and national identity. It is also a specifically Mexican look at the economic and cultural shifts of the 20th century

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José Emilio Pacheco, Battles in the Desert & Other Stories, Trans. by Katherine Silver, New Directions, 1987.
read it at Google Books


Intense, despairing accounts of life in Mexico City.
Seven stories depict harsh realities of life in urban Mexico and the tragedies of childhood innocence betrayed.


The Spanish word historia can be translated as either “history” or “story.” This bit of information kept coming back to me the more I thought about the short fiction of Mexican writer José Emilio Pacheco. Pacheco is virtually unknown in the United States, but in Mexico his books are classics, required reading for many high school students.1 Even Café Tacuba, Mexico’s biggest rock band of the 1990s, paid tribute to Pacheco’s 1981 novella Las batallas en el desierto. This would be like Green Day saving space on their album to pen a tribute to Hester Pryne. Yet the only translation of Pacheco’s fiction available in English is New Direction’s slim 1987 collection Battles in the Desert and Ot…

Mike Heppner's novels offer a plethora of pleasures—rich local color, gonzo riffs on pop culture, characters whose sangfroid can mask a sophisticated silliness, equal helpings of Gass-like profundity and Elkin-esque vulgarity, and an appreciation how fringe the most American of American lives often are—but their “so much” never balloons into “too much”

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Mike Heppner, We Came All This Way, Thought Catalog Books,2015.                excerpt
Click here to read the first two chapters

www.mikeheppner.com/

We Came All This Way is the first novel in eight years from the author whom Entertainment Weekly calls ‘… a fearsome cultural critic disguised in a novelist’s clothing,’ and the Washington Post calls ‘… a young master of this old art.’ It’s the story of Roseanne Okerfeldt, a thirty-one year old mother of four who finds her life in Grand Rapids, Michigan stultifying, and runs off with her brother and eldest child to live on a decommissioned oil rig in the middle of the North Atlantic.
There, Roseanne and the thirty-seven other residents of ‘Mobility’ (as they call their new home) struggle against the elements and their own basic oddness to establish an independent society based on utopian principles of cooperation and self-sufficiency. As the months pass, the pressure increases on Roseanne to return to Michigan and confront her former life, …