Prufrock's Page

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Best Novels You've Never Read

BookExpo America kicks off in New York City this week, and to mark the event, New York magazine has a special section on matter literary. This piece, for example, showcases the opinions of critics on the best novels they've read that haven't received their due (for Dale Peck, it's Calvin Baker's Dominion; for Sven Birkerts, it's Helen DeWitt's The Last Samurai; for Benjamin Kunkel, it's Norman Rush's Mortals). There's also, inevitably, a preview of summer's debut novels (including Nikita Lalwani's Gifted) as well as a piece on a writers' support group comprising John Wray, Suketu Mehta, Akhil Sharma, Gary Shteyngart and Ray Isle. (Apropos aapro Suketu: he's just joined the faculty of New York University; here's a mini-interview.)

One Prefers Times Roman

Jonathan Lethem, Luc Sante, Nicholson Baker and others talk about their favourite typefaces. (Courier's a clear favourite.)

The Writing Life

He is something of a graphomaniac, in fact, rarely without a notebook in which to jot down thoughts on one or another of his many projects - a handy prop for someone who spends so much of his life in transit. "This is funny to say," he continues, "naïve in fact, but I like writing."

- At Hay, Orhan Pamuk speaks to Richard Lea (and he also reveals that his next work will be "a novel with pictures".)


Earlier, there was the for-fanatics-only book that claimed to show, though photographs, what happened on every page of Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Now, Kamran Nazeer takes you through his personal experience of reading Against The Day: "I put the book on my bathroom scale. It weighs 1.6kg. I drop it on the bed and other padded surfaces. I hold it above my head for as long as I can, which is 1 minute 12 seconds.But then that’s it: I have to begin reading."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Essaying A Novel

Does the impulse to write essays colour a novelist's art? Discuss, with reference to the work of Sontag, Llosa, Coetzee and Kundera.

(Link courtesy The Literary Saloon.)

An Australian In New York

"You get a sliver of the Chrysler Building from your bathroom window, and you know that Toni Morrison is out there somewhere, and Salman Rushdie. You think you spotted Don DeLillo at a reading, but how could you speak to him and what would you say?"

- Peter Carey on the life of an author in NYC