Our best paintings look like screams of pain (Alasdair Gray’s Lanark)

“There was once a building boom,” said Thaw, growing excited, “In north Italy. The local governments and bankers of three or four towns, towns the size of Paisley, put so much wealth and thought into decorating public buildings that half Europe’s greatest painters were bred there in a single century. These bosses weren’t unselfish men,… Continue reading Our best paintings look like screams of pain (Alasdair Gray’s Lanark)

RIP Alasdair Gray

RIP Alasdair Gray, 1934-2019 The Scottish novelist and artist Alasdair Gray died today, one day after his 85th birthday. Gray’s first novel, 1981’s Lanark, is one of the strangest and most memorable novels I’ve ever read. Part dystopian fantasy, part realist autofiction, part Kafkaesque anti-quest, and part Künstlerroman, Lanark deconstructs the traditional novel, braiding multiple narratives into… Continue reading RIP Alasdair Gray

Books acquired (and not acquired) 8 and 15 March 2019

On Friday, I went to my trusty local used bookstore to look, once again, for a copy of Octavia Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower. They had four new copies, all of Grand Central Publishing’s 2000 edition, the cover of which is frankly awful. I know I shouldn’t be so shallow, but…I’ll end up checking out the… Continue reading Books acquired (and not acquired) 8 and 15 March 2019

A review of João Gilberto Noll’s surreal novella Quiet Creature on the Corner

Brazilian writer João Gilberto Noll’s 1991 novella Quiet Creature on the Corner is new in English translation (by Adam Morris) from Two Lines Press. The book is probably best read without any kind of foregrounding or forewarning. Forewarning (and enthusiastic endorsement): Quiet Creature on the Corner is a nightmarish, abject, kinetic, surreal, picaresque read, a mysterious prose-poem that resists allegorical interpretation. […]

Continue reading A review of João Gilberto Noll’s surreal novella Quiet Creature on the Corner

Three Books (or, My three favorite reading experiences in 2016)

After years of false starts, I finally read Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s 1958 novel The Leopard this August. Then I read it again, immediately. (It’s one of only two novels I can recall rereading right away—the other two were Blood Meridian and Gravity’s Rainbow). The Leopard tells the story of Prince Fabrizio of Sicily, who witnesses the end of his… Continue reading Three Books (or, My three favorite reading experiences in 2016)

A review of João Gilberto Noll’s surreal novella Quiet Creature on the Corner

Brazilian writer João Gilberto Noll’s 1991 novella Quiet Creature on the Corner is new in English translation (by Adam Morris) from Two Lines Press. The book is probably best read without any kind of foregrounding or forewarning. Forewarning (and enthusiastic endorsement): Quiet Creature on the Corner is a nightmarish, abject, kinetic, surreal, picaresque read, a mysterious prose-poem that resists allegorical interpretation.… Continue reading A review of João Gilberto Noll’s surreal novella Quiet Creature on the Corner

A quick riff on the first 30 pages of Quiet Creature on the Corner, João Gilberto Noll’s nightmare novella (Book acquired, 5.03.2016)

In today’s mail I found a small package from Two Lines Press containing João Gilberto Noll’s 1991 novella Quiet Creature on the Corner, freshly translated into English from Portuguese by Adam Morris. I started into the Noll. Each sentence made me want to read the next sentence. What is it about? you ask, perhaps. Well. I’m not sure. Let’s… Continue reading A quick riff on the first 30 pages of Quiet Creature on the Corner, João Gilberto Noll’s nightmare novella (Book acquired, 5.03.2016)

Three Books

Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte. English translation by Cesare Foligno. 2005 trade paperback by NYRB. Cover painting is Odd Nerdrum’s The Dentures; cover design by Katy Homans. Bought this a while ago and have been meaning to take a serious crack at it for some time now. 1982 Janine by Alasdair Gray. 1985 trade paperback by Penguin. No designer… Continue reading Three Books

Reading/Have Read/Should Write About

From top to bottom: Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed Last summer, I read Alasdair Gray’s novel Lanark and never mustered a review (Florida heat; Fourth of July fireworks; booze; other excuses). I’ve thought about Lanark all the time though. I’m afraid Mumbo Jumbo is gonna fall in the same slot as Lanark—too much to handle in one read. I need to go… Continue reading Reading/Have Read/Should Write About