Prufrock's Page

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Wee Break

Away till Saturday, 8th September. Normal service -- or what passes for normal around these parts -- will resume thereafter.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

And Then They Get Together To Ignore Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"...a wondrous, not-so-brief first novel that is so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets Star Trek meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West."

- Michiko Kakutani raves about Junot Diaz's Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. (She also uses the word "galvanic".)

Cancel My Reservation

"...I went to the house in Chennai where Ramanujan had actually lived. It was fascinating to see that the particular world in India had not changed much. There were other things that were much more subtle. There is a reference in the novel to open doors -- to the doors in a hotel being open. We noticed when we were staying in the hotels in India people often left their doors open. It seemed very strange to us, as Americans, because we want the doors to be closed; we want privacy. But to Indians keeping the doors open was like a communal atmosphere."

- David Leavitt on his research for his Ramanujan-Hardy novel, The Indian Clerk.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Who Knew?

This, according to scientists, is what happens to you when you read or write: "...[in] the occipital-temporal area (which includes the hypothesized locus of 'neuronal recycling' for literacy), we become proficient visual specialists in whatever script we read. In the second, the frontal region around Broca's area, we become specialists in two different ways -- for phonemes in words and for their meanings. In the third, the multifunction region spanning the upper temporal lobes and the lower, adjacent parietal lobes, we recruit additional areas that help to process multiple elements of sounds and meanings, which are particularly important for alphabetic and syllabary systems."

- From a review of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, by Maryanne Wolf

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Leave Me Alone, I'm Writing

Salinger. Pynchon. Johnson. What makes those reclusive authors so appealing? (One answer, by NEA Literature Director David Kipen: "It almost helps that there's no interviews with Pynchon in print saying, 'I like to sit around in my underwear and watch soap operas.' Because we don't want to know that.")