I’m the only one around here (in Montreal) who digs Eggers’ AHWOSG. Everybody’s always just reminding me it’s soooo not Infinite Jest. Well, I’m into Conor Oberst as well. Guess I’m just the emo kid on the block.
And I surely know a LOT of great Quebec writers you’ve never heard of, hehe.
wish i saved up for rainy days cuz they’re the hardest to be dry
i’ve got no self-control
i’m always begging into telephones, and
i bought a little from my brother’s friend, yeah just enough to get me by
i don’t trust his cut
the effect’s never as high as the mark-up
i think i’ll print it in the personals that i’m looking for a match
someone to light me up
someone to burn the proof of the things that i’ve done
In certain companies I feel kinda pleeb admitting that Michael Chabon is one of my favorite living novelists. But all my favorite dead ones (white men who wrote about white men having suburban-life meltdowns) are just as bad.
I fucking love Zachary Germans “Eat When You Feel Sad”, and it legitimately is my favorite book spawned by the whole Tao Lin crowd, except for maybe “Eeeee Eee Eeee”. Its almost austistic level commitment to declarative sentences is off putting to many people but if you can tolerate that (or appreciate it as I do) you can find yourself enjoying what I feels is one of the most candid and realistic representations of 21st century youth, and doubly delight in the fact that you are one of the few people to do so.
Love him. Why the hell did he stop writing fiction and fall off the face of the planet (or my planet at least)? I’ve NEVER been able to talk about his books with anyone I hadn’t turned onto him myself.
I love that book. Oddly enough I was turned onto it by a girl called Mimi. Long ago… When I discovered the Morrissey connection, I freaked…then thought that Morrissey should have cited her in his liner notes.
for some odd reason robert stone gets forgotten. perhaps critics and teachers and students remember his work, but i feel his books should be massively popular. like deLillo level. or at least available when we go into a barnes & noble.
All of Bob Stone’s recent books are in B&N the last time I checked. However, if you’re talking about classics like Dog Soldiers or other early works they may be out of print, but can still be easily found.
Tao Lin, no matter how easy he seems to make it to write him off. He wins mucho points for having seemingly little tolerance for talking about ‘what he does’ in his work. He also seems comfortingly cognizant of how absurd ‘it’ all is, which is something I wish more writers played with openly.
Things some people might hate: I can only think of movies off the top of my head right now, but I would said, despite the general praise by ‘most’ people, two movies that I still think are very good are Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds b/c I was reading the DFW essay about David Lynch and he sort of lambastes Tarantino as a super sleek hyped-up Lynch epigone, which may or may not be true, but I think there is some particular worth to both of those movies and I am willing to defend them!
re: never heard: I recently finished Macedonio Fernandez’s “The Museum of Eterna’s Novel”, which is well known perhaps in the right circles, but I don’t really hear about Fernandez that much anywhere, really. He seems absurdly ahead of his time (novel was mostly written in 30’s and 40’s) and was the ‘mentor’ of Borges. It starts with 50+ prologues about the novel and the actual novel is about some ‘characters’ gathering together at a place called ‘La Novela’ contemplating their future w/r/t the author’s intentions. Very fun/playful/intersting!
I like Sebastian Faulks’s The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives. You’d hate Faulks if you knew he was (ok he wrote Charlotte Gray, which later became a movie with Cate Blanchett, and he wrote a new James Bond novel). I wouldn’t have picked up the book if I’d known of him already.
This trio of biographies is kind of great, especially the last one, the life of Jeremy Wolfenden, an Etonian, a spy and double agent, an open homosexual (while it was still criminal in England), something of a genius at Oxford. He ends up leading the most fucked-up, sad, shabby, diminished life. If you don’t have time to read Time Regained, read the Wolfenden section of The Fatal Englishman.
got paid today. so i went to barnes & noble to buy the new murakami. checked on the robert stone selection. the barnes & noble in west hartford, ct had no robert stone. not one of his books.
the last time my parents asked me what i wanted for christmas, i said robert stone books. my mother said she had an awful time trying to find any (the days pre-amazon it all).
when _fun with problems_ came out, i went to the wesleyan bookstore, thinking that they would carry it (the university has always supported his work). nope. they didn’t have it. i went to the borders and the barnes & noble. nope. i had to order it online. and yes, you can order them all online. but. robert stone? all of his books should be on the shelves in places like barnes & noble. but they not.
so this is why i say this is some crazy ass shit, homie.
I assume that he stopped writing for a while because he was living off the ton of money that he made by co-writing those shitty books that were NY Times Bestsellers and they sold in airport bookstores like Why Do Men Have Nipples? But now he’s back! Or he will be soon.
mark anthony jarman is this canadian who kills. sentence-by-sentence, dude is fire. the only people i’ve been able to talk to him about are people i’ve given his books to. his early stuff was definitely barry hannah-inspired (hannah taught him at iowa) and he admits as much, but jarman is definitely bringing in his own hi-hats.
some books some people know but more people should know:
William Goyen’s House of Breath
Joyelle McSweeney’s The Necropastoral
Stephen Dixon’s InterstateJohannes Goransson’s Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate.
Maggie Nelson’s Bluets
Terrance Hayes’s We Are the TribesHeather McHugh’s Hinge and Sign
Maurice Manning’s Bucolics
Bill Knott, the self-published collection from Lulu.com
Albert Goldbarth’s The Kitchen Sink
Melanie Rae Thon’s Girls in the Grass
Yasunari Kawabata’s The Master of Go
Shusaku Endo’s Silence
Evan Lavender-Smith, From Old Notebooks
Aaron Gwyn’s Dog on the CrossJoy Williams’s Ill NatureJillian Weise, The Amputee’s Guide to SexThomas Bernhard’s LoserLawrence Weschler’s Vermeer in BosniaTom Franklin’s Smonk and Hell at the BreechRussell Banks’s The Sweet HereafterRachel B. Glaser, Pee on WaterChristopher Coake’s We’re In Trouble
…and most of them seem to hate him; do please elaborate on why then you think my ‘choice’ here was silly? Seems to easily fit one of the two criteria. Should I draw you a crayon diagram so you can comprehend?
Kolyma Tales – Varlam Shalamov
Sudden Times – Dermot Healy
Timoleon Vieta Come Home – Dan Rhodes
Man is Wolf to Man – Janusz Bardach
Behindlings – Nicola Barker
Mailman – J. Robert Lennon
Savage Dreams – Rebecca Solnit
Metropole – Ferenc Karinthy
Fires – Nick Antosca
Disturbing the Peace – Richard Yates
Jungle Lovers – Paul Theroux
The Stars at Noon – Denis Johnson
Ok not exactly unknown writers, most of them, but books I like that I want other people to know about. And again – Frederic Prokosch. Great writer.
Wow. I had no idea there was a new novel coming out. Thanks a million for letting me know about this C.L. I’m going to pre-order the fucker — what a title.
And B.S.: I thought he had quit writing entirely; it never occurred to me that he was the same Mark Leyner co-writing that Why Do Men Have Nipples stuff. Yikes. Though, it’s true he has a bizarre medical fetish from his novels. Still. Now that I think of it, more power to him if he can write schlock and get real money from it…just don’t stop writing the good stuff, too! And it looks as if he, finally, has come back to us. I can’t wait.
I worship Harrison, have read everything except the most recent two, watch his Lannan videos whenever I get depressed. Did you see that documentary film with him interviewing Gary Snyder? Excellent. Don’t really agree though that he isn’t well-known and well-respected. As far as literary fiction goes, I think he gets a great deal of respect and his books are largely, if not completely, in print. I think he gets a little less respect as a poet, but his recent return in a big way to poetry is helping. I mean Copper Canyon aren’t obscure. Letters to Yesenin is indeed incredible, followed, for me, by After Ikkyu. Braided Creek is also a wonder. Yay Jim Harrison!
Rupert Thomson ought to be more widely known. Maybe he is in the UK, I don’t know. All of his novels really, but The Book of Revelation is a great place to start. Also:
Alexander Theroux–Darconville’s Cat
Barry Yourgrau–Haunted Traveler
Ana Maria Shua–Microfictions
Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky–Memories of the Future
Kirstin Bakis–Lives of the Monster Dogs
Stanley Elkin–The Living End
Jerome K. Jerome–Three Men in a Boat
Donald Antrim–The Verificationist
Kate Braverman–Squandering the Blue
Ron Loewinsohn–Magnetic Fields
Daniil Kharms–Today I Wrote Nothing
Jim Crace–Gift of Stones
G.K. Chesterton–Father Brown Stories
Richard Flanagan–Gould’s Book of Fish
Kobo Abe–Inter Ice Ace 4
everything by Steve Erickson.
everything by Javier Marias.
And hell yes on Mark Leyner, glad to see he has something new coming.
like little weird flash fiction things, sometimes a little bit like magical realism. a little like koans, stones to turn over. The Dancing Girl of Izu and Other stories is good. it’s worth buying for the title story alone, which is the only one in there, i think, which is not a palm of the hand story. maybe there’s one more other long one, can’t remember
Harlan Ellison. Our Borges, our Carroll and sometimes our conscience and he doesn’t write a bad SF story, either. Most people either love him or hate him. If you have heard of him, you haven’t heard anything good and if you haven’t heard of him, you need to widen your literary perspective. Start with Deathbird Stories.
I did this really terrible thing about two years ago when I moved. I had three book cases with a total of about 600 books on them. I didn’t want to move all those books to my new apartment (that whole ‘starting over fresh’ bullshit), books which I’d been hauling around for 15 years from apt. to apt. I get this bright idea to trim the fat, so I filled 8 Xeroxpaper boxes full of books I felt I could part with, and hauled them to Half Price Crooks. No joke — the take-in girl behind the counter that night looked like Velma from Scooby Doo. After twenty minutes, she calls my name on the PA and says we have an offer for you. When I get up to the counter, she prefaced the offer by saying “you have some really nice books here.” No one had ever said that to me before. I took home $140 cash that night. I wouldn’t regret it until much later. One of those books was Barry Yourgrau’s “Haunted Traveler.” I hardly ever quote Cinderella, but it’s really true. You really Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone). Thanks for reminding me.
I wish I had been around people who knew about Mark Leyner in 2001. Actually, I take that back. I’m excited for the new one too. Tetherballs was very funny. I do remember Wallace calling My Cousin My Gastroenterologist the biggest campus hit since The Fountainhead, or some such, which is saying a lot. I will check out Steve Aylett. LIQUID TELEVISION.
I thought Hudson Hawk was a good movie. Ishtar is a bit dull because Beatty is dull, but it’s as good a movie as is, say, Dances With Wolves. Occasionally – I wouldn’t say ‘often’ – , a well-done movie gets buried under an avalanche of hate.
Janet Kauffman, and Jeff T. Johnson’s comments two years ago have finally got me into Stephen Wright, particularly M31: A Family Romance. He’s rocky as a stylist, but the ideas are surprising and the navigation of lotsa-people scenes really deft.