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Night Film
Mercy me, why am I a masochist? Why do I pursue to suffer? To what do I atone? There was little doubt after Night Film's opening that it was crap, a c ...more
Dec 24, 2013
Dec 22, 2013
Specters of Marx
Certain Soviet philosophers told me in Moscow a few years ago: the best translation of perestroika was still "deconstruction."

Specters of Marx sustain
May 25, 2014
May 20, 2014
Independent People
Way back when. My wife and went to our prominent local bookseller over the holidays in 2003. She asked me if I had read anything by Laxness and I adro ...more
Jan 2003
Jul 03, 2010
The Bridge on the Drina
Images and myths purport to the mythic. Ivo Andric crafted a monument to those expectations in his novel of stories. He challenges the eternal with a ...more
Feb 02, 2013
Jan 23, 2013
Memories of the Future
A philosophy of life is more terrible than syphilis and people - you have to give them credit - take every precaution not to become infected. Especial ...more
Sep 13, 2013
Sep 10, 2013
Bleeding Edge
My friends and I created our online reading group samizdat in the summer of 1999. Our first selection was Gravity's Rainbow and we've made a number of ...more
Oct 19, 2013
Sep 19, 2013
Collected Fictions
Fame is a form--perhaps the worst form--of incomprehension.

I can recall the first time I discovered the name Borges. That marks a near singular occasi
Dec 18, 2014
Dec 08, 2014
Three Trapped Tigers
I was dizzy and short of breath when I finally saw this on the shelves at Twice-Told back in my Boom days. My vertigo may have been induced by the fac ...more
Aug 1996
Jun 13, 2010
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey through Yugoslavia
Hatred comes before love, and gives the hater strange and delicious pleasures, but its works are short-lived; the head is cut from the body before the ...more
May 2014
Apr 12, 2014
In a true Olympic fashion, I had difficulty and controversy with my reading and ranking of the latest from Richard Powers. A much younger Jon would've ...more
Feb 11, 2014
Feb 09, 2014
Baba Yaga Laid an Egg

Baba Yaga is a witch of Slavic legend. I've always thought it sounded cool as hell. Baba Roga is the Serbian equivalent, though that is disputed.

Mar 26, 2013
Mar 24, 2013
Kolyma Tales
Kolyma Tales was my first used book purchase via Amazon. (I feel obligated to honor our benefactor at every turn now. I even touch my breast when I sa ...more
Apr 07, 2013
Apr 04, 2013
Parallel Stories: A Novel
The flammable human colloid gathered in the ditches, fat and marrow arranged in fine layers according to their relative density; the religion teach or ...more
Oct 08, 2014
Sep 20, 2014
The Windup Girl
If she were to scrub for a thousand years she would not be clean, but she is too tired to care and she has grown accustomed to scars she cannot scour ...more
Apr 09, 2012
Apr 05, 2012
Dissident Gardens
Dissident Gardens has all the heft of a five star endeavor, unfortunately some it stuck to the pan. I read two-thirds of it this weekend, one plagued ...more
Oct 07, 2013
Sep 29, 2013
Somewhere in the meaty middle of Jacques Rivette's superb film Va Savoir two characters discuss the proper pronunciation of Curzio Malaparte's name. A ...more
Feb 2007
Jul 02, 2013
The Pickwick Papers
The Pickwick Papers promised heft. Weighing in at 900 pages and larded with indices and erudite observations, the project promised muscle training, if ...more
Jan 07, 2013
Dec 20, 2012
Peeling the Onion
They had tried doing it by themselves in her room with a cheap onion, but it wasn't the same. You needed an audience. It was so much easier to cry in ...more
Jan 2007
May 18, 2010
Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family
Apparently this was Faulkner's favorite novel from Mann. Aspects of it likely permeated his epic of the Compson family. Coincidentally I read this one ...more
Jan 2009
May 18, 2010
Eternity and Other Stories
Standing, it looked to Chemayev that the stones beneath his feet were miles away, the surface of a lumpy planet seen from space. A shadowy floater clu ...more
Mar 08, 2015
Mar 06, 2015
White Teeth
These days, it feels to me like you make a devil's pact when you walk into this country. You hand over your passport at the check-in, you get stamped, ...more
Jan 2001
May 18, 2010
The Hakawati
You can say that Lebanese has hundreds of lexemes for family relations. Family to the Lebanese is as snow to the Inuit.

Most of us are familiar with th
May 11, 2014
May 05, 2014
The Structures of Everyday Life
Books, even history books, run away with their authors. This one has run ahead of me. But what can one say about its waywardness, its whims, even its ...more
Jan 21, 2015
Jan 15, 2015
The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May
In other words: I am not original. I am merely a blend of current texts neither influenced nor influential because all that I reveal can at any point ...more
May 19, 2015
May 14, 2015
There was no room for the past in America.

There is an irony in that statement, rhetorical as it might be. It is exactly the surfeit of room which allo
Nov 19, 2014
Nov 16, 2014
The Poetics of Space
[W]e are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.

This is not wha
Jun 20, 2014
Jun 16, 2014
Stigmata: Escaping Texts
Take the living instant with the closest and the most delicate words. Without words as witnesses the instant (will not have been) is not. I do not wri ...more
Jun 2015
May 29, 2015
He could almost put him back in a cage. Iron cage in which he showed his golden age. There he learned to kneel, prostrate himself, lowdown Ez! his van ...more
Jun 23, 2015
Jun 22, 2015
What is a man, if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more. Sure he that made us with such large discourse, lo ...more
Jan 28, 2015
Jan 26, 2015
When I try to decipher a text I do not constantly ask myself if I will finish by answering yes or no, as happens in France at determined periods of hi ...more
Jun 14, 2014
Jun 08, 2014
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