I finished A. V. Marraccini’s We the Parasites very very early Friday morning and then sneaked in two hours of sleep before a nine a.m. alarm. We the Parasites is a discursive ekphrasis, its finest moments concentrated on Cy Twombly (and his historical painting The Age of Alexander in particular). Marraccini turns her lens also to John Updike’s novel The Centaur, Jean Genet, and pomegranates and wasps. 2020 and Covid-19 hang over the book, inverting its would-be-flânerie: It’s flânerie for silent nights, cybernights, flânerie for necessary introversion.
I’m about 100 pages into Cities of the Plain, the final book of Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy. I read it maybe fifteen years ago and recall almost nothing about it other than McCarthy uniting the two heroes of the first two books, John Grady Cole and Billy Parham. So far, the novel is a far quicker read than the first two Border novels—more direct, more cinematic, less adolescent, its intensities tamped by experience. About thirty pages in, McCarthy devotes two entire pages to a description of changing a tire. It’s beautiful.
Nest in the Bones collects a career-spanning selection of Antonio Di Benedetto short stories (in translation by Martina Broner). I’ve been trying to read one or two a day. Many of the early stories are quite short, and Di Benedetto perhaps shows a bit too much debt to Kafka here, but the oddity of it all is wonderful.
It is true that William S. Burroughs was fond of dinners with famous and interesting people, and was totally fine with having a young, perhaps good looking Victor Bockris serve as a nexus and recorder for such events, events that have nothing to do with big-ell Literature. But my favorite thing here (as was the case with Allen Ginsberg’s nineties jaunt with Burroughs in the same vein, Don’t Hide the Madness), my favorite thing here is how Burroughs undercuts any pretension or redirects conversation to his own strange obsessions.