Saturday, May 29, 2010

Now For Something Completely Different

I am still plugging away at the Sinclair, the rewards are just fecund enough for the effort. I took James' Cultural Amnesia with me on my travels this morning and was again delighted with a rereading of the chapter on G. K Chesterton. I was so pleased that I began The Paradoxes of Mister Pound by GKC upon returning home this afternoon.

I read a chapter from Dorothy Dunnett but can't suggest that it moved me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Much To Consider

Samizdat remains inert.

This Iain Sinclair absolutely beguiles me. I've ordered a few of texts from Better World.

Paraphrasing DFW, the payoff for Mulligan Stew appeared negligible, at best.

I did find myself browsing some Lovecraft at the library yesterday. A few more solid stories from the Best European Fiction 2010 collection have been savored.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Own Dementia

Plans were made without a doubt. There is a certain pride in my scheduling. I finished Money by Amis and then my plan slid aground. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel's coda, the final 60 pages as John Self's prosperity unravels and he plays chess with Martin Amis. This was sublime.

I had made plans to pursue postindustrial America in its Eastern promises. I though I would push into American Rust and Sunlight Dialogues and be sated before June and the NBA Finals and the World Cup elbow EVERYTHING else out of focus.

I then encountered Mulligan Stew by Gilbert Sorrentino and discovered Iain Sinclair.

That is where we are.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Pause, then a Cramp

A solid if draining week has ensued. My reading dipped. I spent most of the week with Money by Martin Amis: more to follow.

The easy apex of the week was the story And All Turned Moon by Georgi Gospodinov. Such is a highlight in the Best 2010 European Fiction. It is Bulgarian sci-fi, it is agonizingly poignant and it recalls a short film from the Ten Minutes To Trumpet collection featuring Daniel Craig and the moral perils of hyperspace.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Mourner

Earlier in the week I encountered a contest (details here) concerning flash fiction and a Parker break-in of a bookstore. Excited by the premise, I dashed off an attempt in 14 minutes. Finding myself pleased with my effort, even if no one else was, I pondered this and realized that I had never read a Parker novel by Richard Stark. That night I dream I was enrolled in a MFA type course and that under a deadline I wrote a story about Rick and Renault's future after they flee Morocco. It was a good dream.

It is a sublime day in Indiana. A solid walk to the library allowed me the opportunity to sit on the porch and read Stark's The Mourner in one sitting. My Parker flash lacks all the grit but i am still pleased.

Friday, May 14, 2010


It has proved a long week. I smile to ponder that Bunny suggested that Nabokov explore Malraux's Man's Fate. N snidely responded
with a multipoint review that completely dismissed Malraux's effort. Such begged attention to bocks that my own friends have suggested, often, to be fair, upon the value of a review alone.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Racing to the end of Petersburg by Andrei Bely, my reading was interrupted by the full text of Gordon Brown's resignation. I am now convinced that on both counts, some matters are beyond translation.

My wife's brother voted Labour. I voted (here) for Lee Cotner. Last night I was truly interested in reading Rick Moody's The Diviners, though the light of day has offered other alternatives. Once again Norman Rush is on my radar.

Samizdat is going to explore The Brothers Karamazov in the P and K translation.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Inside The Scribe(s)

There were two more books completed last week: David Lispky's Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself and The Nabokov/Wilson Letters. The Lipsky piece of DFW disappointed me. It was a well-padded article about an insecure man, very uncomfortable with modest celebrity. It likely wouldn't haven't been published were it not for Mr. Wallace's fate. The most elaborate point of contact between Lipsky and Wallace turns out to be 90s cinema (the interview was conducted in 1996) and I had to admit grimacing over their discussions.I think many of Wallace's confessions about his past have been proven shaky by subsequent accounts. I can't really blame him. Earlier today I walked around the campus of IUS to return some books and enjoy the chilled air. I thought of my good friends Roger and Joel, how the second tier air of the campus has never really left our self-images, that somehow the education was inchoate and perhaps we needed to raise our voices at untoward times to compensate for such.

The Nabokov-Bunny correspondence was conversely a treat. Rich beyond expectation I didn't allow my own differences of strong opinions* with Nabokov to diminish my praise for that wizard. Ultimately I did reflect on my own original contact with The Master (the current Believer also has an article about a woman's discovery of Lolita) via the unlikely source of my friend Steve Powell, who years ago was an intrepid reader. He told me adamantly in 1996 that The Gift was poetry and I would be an idiot not to read it immediately. Thank heavens I heeded such advice.
*- among the many are N's dismissal of Marse Bill with the simple, "Down with Faulkner."

Monday, May 03, 2010

Parsing the Sum

Not less than a month ago I found myself chatting with my good friend Roger. The discussion was limited to the eschatological: Russian Literature and the fate of the preterite in the closing weeks of the NBA season. Couple became crowd as a lad joined and after making some absurd comments about music asked if we were interested in "Chi-Chi Guevara." Helplessly smiling but polite we inquired as to whether the golfer or the revolutionary was the intended subject. Roger adroitly spoke on the legacy of Che and the subsequent Soderburg biopic which bled into a discussion as to why both Roger and I were disappointed in such. Seemingly only a pint later, the gentleman intruded again and asked if we knew about the Black Pope. The lack of response prompted this now quite drunk bloke to recite in an eerie monotone some timeworn script about the New World Order and the symbiosis between banking, the media and, ultimately, transnational detention centers. Attempts for verifiable sources ensued, but eventually it was only a collection of websites that were furnished. Losing my composure, I asked how secret this society could be , if it was discovered by someone like him. I recall stating to the zealot that this was among the stranger discussions I have had in recent memory.

Such may have been clinging in my mind when I decided to reread Foucault's Pendulum last week. I first read it while in University and I have dived into it at least ten times since and read significant chunks. No, it isn't the epitome of style, but it a cauldron of ideas, one i find irresistible. The charming feature of this reading was the bracketing of High and Low Art and Causobon's estimation of their correspondence to reality.