Archive for ‘Book’

March 25, 2014

An Excerpt From Gerald Murnane’s Barley Patch

by ryan chang

After the young man of the upstairs flat had first disclosed his plans for the Black Mass in the building of several storeys, it became the custom on every Friday and Saturday evening for all of the young persons gathered in the upstairs flat, including the young woman who lived there, to spend some or another part of each evening in discussing how they might spend one or another Friday or Saturday evening in the building of several storeys after the young man of the upstairs flat had bought the building and had fitted it out to his liking. The discussions at first were simple. The young man of the upstairs flat owned a copy each of several issues of the American magazine Playboy, which had recently been allowed into Australia after having been previously a prohibited import. All of the persons gathered in the upstairs flat would look at one after another illustration of a bare-breasted young woman from the magazines and would cast votes in order to decide whether or not the young woman should spend some time as a guest in the building of several storeys. The young woman of the upstairs flat was interested in dance and music and would describe some of the items that she would later choreograph, as she put it, for performance by herself and other naked young women during banquets. The chief character tried to amuse the others by reading to them parodies he had composed of prayers from the Mass. In each parody words such as God, angels, and sacrifice were replaced by words such as Lucifer, devils, and farce. However, few of the persons in the flat knew anything about Catholic doctrine and liturgy, and the parodies aroused little interest. The only means that the chief character found for amusing the others in the upstairs flat was his performing a brief mime in which he took the role of a priest first turning from the altar towards his congregation with his head bowed and his eyes closed, then seeming to notice something was amiss, and finally looking aghast. (The chief character never held back from discussing with the other persons in the upstairs flat the details of the banquets and the orgies in the building of several storeys, but he was never able to imagine himself as taking part in an orgy. Whenever the chapel of the building of several storeys appeared as an image in his mind, it was always fitted with a so-called side-chapel, a sort of alcove with a few pews to one side of the altar. If an orgy seemed about to begin, he would slip unnoticed into the front pew of the side-chapel and would there masturbate quietly while he watched the goings-on in the sanctuary.)

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March 7, 2014

An Excerpt From Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle II: A Man in Love

by ryan chang

She fell into a pit that autumn. And she reached out for me. I didn’t understand what was happening. But it was so claustrophobic that I turned away from her, tried to maintain a distance, which she tried to close.

I went to Venice, wrote in a flat my publishing house had at its disposal, Linda was supposed to follow and stay for just under a week, then I would work for a few more days and return. She was so black, she was so heavy, kept saying I didn’t love her, I didn’t really love her, I didn’t want her, I didn’t really want her, this wasn’t working, it would never work, I didn’t want it to, I didn’t want her.

“But I do!” I said as we walked in the autumn chill in Murano with eyes hidden behind sunglasses. However, when she said I didn’t really love her, I didn’t really want to be with her, I wanted to be alone all the time, on my own, it became a little truer.

Where did her despair come from?

Had I brought it with me?

Was I cold?

Did I only think of myself?

I no longer knew what it would be like when my working day was over and I went to her place. Would she be happy, would it be a nice evening? Would she be angry about something, if for example we no longer made love every night, and so I didn’t love her as much as before? Would we sit in bed watching TV? Go for a walk to Långholmen? And once there, would I be devoured by her demands to have all of me, making me keep her at a distance and have thoughts shooting to and for in my brain that this had to come to an end, it wasn’t working, thus rendering any conversation or attempts to get closer impossible, which of course she noticed and took as proof of her main thesis, that I didn’t want her?

February 12, 2014

“Actually I’m shocked by everything I’ve just written” (Correction, Thomas Bernhard).

by ryan chang

Thomas Bernhard died today in 1989. He was buried on the 16th. Three people were present.

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I’m getting closer to Altensam, but I’m not getting closer to Altensam in order to solve its mystery; for others to explain it to myself is why I am getting closer to Altensam, to my Altensam, the one that I see. While she lived I never asked my mother, never asked her all these unanswered questions, never once asked her a single crucial question, because I never could formulate such a question, I was afraid I might put such a question wrong somehow, and so I never posed it, and so I got no answer. Now the Eferding woman is dead, I can’t ask her, she can’t answer. But would it be any different now, if I could ask her, and she could answer? We don’t ask those we love, just as we don’t ask those we hate, so Roithamer. Actually I’m shocked by everything I’ve just written, what if it was all quite different, I wonder, but I will not correct now what I’ve written, I’ll correct it all when the time for such correction has come and then I’ll correct the corrections and correct again the resulting corrections andsoforth, so Roithamer. We’re constantly correcting, and correcting ourselves, most rigorously, because we recognize at every moment that we did it all wrong (wrote it, thought it, made it all wrong), acted all wrong, how we acted all wrong, that everything to this point in time is a falsification, so we correct this falsification, and then we again correct the correction of this falsification and we correct the result of the correction of a correction andsoforth, so Roithamer. But the ultimate correction is one we keep delaying, the kind others have made without ado from one minute to the next, I think, so Roithamer, the kind they could make, by the time they no longer thought about it, because they were afraid even to think about it, but then they did correct themselves, like my cousin, like his father, my uncle, like all the others whom we knew, as we thought, whom we knew so thoroughly, yet we didn’t really know all these peoples’ characters, because their self-correction took us by surprise, otherwise we wouldn’t have been surprised by their ultimate existential correction, their suicide.

February 8, 2014

An Excerpt From The Chapter “Mycobacterium tuberculosis” in Reiner Stach’s Kafka: The Years of Inight

by ryan chang

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They had a difficult time with Kafka. His statements about the dangerous illness seem oddly self-assured, sensory, and at times downright theatrical, even to modern readers who have internalized the paradoxical forms of expression of literary modernity. But when we look over the correspondence of that little circle, it seems equally odd that Brod, Weltsch, and Baum had not developed any real feeling for Kafka’s psychological volatility after more than a decade of close personal contact, or understood his vulnerable, literally exposed life and his sense of reality, maintained in spite of it all. This sense of reality was what told him what to do and what not to do for his illness. But it was a far more basic need, over which he had little control, that compelled him to derive meaning from what had happened.

January 20, 2014

Word Index from James Joyce’s Ulysses: From “Catheter” to “‘cello”

by Ryan Mihaly

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From Miles L. Hanley’s Word Index to James Joyce’s Ulysses.

 

January 19, 2014

Word Index from James Joyce’s Ulysses: From “Daybreak” to “Debts”

by Ryan Mihaly

Ulysses_Daybreak-Debts

From Miles L. Hanley’s Word Index to James Joyce’s Ulysses.

 

January 18, 2014

Foreign Words and Phrases (from “Indiges” to “Mahamanvantara”) in James Joyce’s Ulysses

by Ryan Mihaly

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From Miles L. Hanley’s Word Index to James Joyce’s Ulysses.

 

January 17, 2014

Money Expressions in James Joyce’s Ulysses

by Ryan Mihaly

Ulysses_Money

From Miles L. Hanley’s Word Index to James Joyce’s Ulysses.

 

January 16, 2014

Numbers and Symbols in James Joyce’s Ulysses (“0″ through “26″)

by Ryan Mihaly

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From Miles L. Hanley’s Word Index to James Joyce’s Ulysses.

July 17, 2013

Made-up Flowers from Boris Vian’s Novel Heartsnatcher

by Ryan Mihaly

In the order they appear:

Amizaltzes

Powaroses

Marienbud

Yellowplush

Dreamrape

Fenellacas

Ninastangas

Astrakhan

Marazardins

Seacrocus

Bruinzozos

Bazabobos

Petaleaves

Translated from the French by Stanley Chapman

July 6, 2013

The Novelist — Frantisek Kupka

by Biblioklept

May 26, 2013

Yellow Zine #3 (Books, Comix, Etc. Acquired 5.13.2013)

by Biblioklept

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Got a sweet bundle from Roman Muradov a few weeks ago: Yellow Zine #3 plus some other comix, including a take on Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night. Love the Joyce bookmark.

The comix themselves are funny, weird, and strangely heartfelt (why “strangely” — I suppose because there’s this weird cerebral/linguistic bent to them + literary allusion — these aren’t  sad boy emo comics — but emotion and feeling comes through in Roman’s clean, expressive style).

Check out Roman’s site for more. I’m hoping for a graphic novel one day…

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September 28, 2012

Bartleby the Scrivener (Book Acquired, 9.25.2012)

by Biblioklept

 

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The good people at Melville House sent me their edition of Melville’s classic novella Bartleby the Scrivener. I’ve read it at least half a dozen times since the 10th grade, but the Melville House version is part of their Hybrid Books series, which features digital illuminations. I shall report in full in a week or two, focusing on what the illuminations add to the book, and what the reading experience is like.

 

July 27, 2012

“My Bed Is a Boat” — Robert Louis Stevenson

by Biblioklept

February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Books from My Sweetie (Books Acquired 2.14.2012)

by Biblioklept

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