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Granta 117 — Horror

Happy Halloween!  If you’re looking for a bit of literary horror, you can’t do much better than the Granta 117, the horror issue.  This issue features “horror” writing from some writers whose names might spring up when “horror” is mentioned, but there are also many I never would have thought of in…

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Roberto Bolaño: Between Parentheses

I’m a little late in bringing up the latest Roberto Bolaño book, Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998 – 2003 (Entre parentesis, 2004; tr. by Natasha Wimmer, 2011).  It came out earlier this year, and beyond the first week after its release I haven’t really heard much about it.  I’m behind in getting…

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Apologies for Technical Trouble

Apparently some time early Friday morning, my webhost had a server die, and it happened to be the server my data was on.  When they finally got my stuff transferred to another server, I guess it still takes some time for other ISPs to redirect traffic.  Consequently, even though my site…

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George Saunders: “Tenth of December”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage.  George Saunders’s “Tenth of December” was originally published in the October 31, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. I have been having a hard time with George Saunders lately.  Where I once looked forward to his…

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Julian Barnes: The Sense of an Ending

This year I completed four of the books shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize: Snowdrops, The Sisters Brothers, Half-Blood Blues (reviews here, here, and here, respectively) — and the only one of those I felt should be on the shortlist was Half-Blood Blues — and Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an…

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2011 Man Booker Prize Winner

This evening, the winner for the 2011 Man Booker Prize was announced: The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes It has been a troubled year for the Man Booker Prize.  When awarding the Man Booker International Prize to Philip Roth, judge Carmen Callil resigned.  It seemed the only folks…

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Esi Edugyan: Half-Blood Blues

Ah, another finalist for this year’s much-maligned Man Booker Prize.  In part because of the criticism (much of which I agree with, particularly criticism about how some of the judges have responded), I really didn’t want to read Half-Blood Blues (2011), even if it did eventually win the prize (it…

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Caitlin Horrocks: “Sun City”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Caitlin Horrocks’ “Sun City” was originally published in the October 24, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. I had never heard of Caitlin Horrocks until this morning.  She’s published in…

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Michael Ondaatje: The Cat’s Table

I’ve never really gotten into Michael Ondaatje, partially because I’ve never really given him a chance.  Several years ago I started The English Patient, but I gave up after about 100 pages.  Though I feel it must be the case, no one has ever tried to convince me I’m missing out on much.  Earlier…

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2011 National Book Award Finalists

Today the 2011 National Book Award Finalists were announced on Oregon Public Radio.  Winners will be announced on November 16. Young People’s Literature My Name Is Not Easy, by Debby Dahl Edwardson Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its…

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Patrick McGrath: Dr. Haggard’s Disease

A few years ago (well, look at that: precisely three years ago tomorrow), I posted a review on Patrick McGrath’s novel Asylum (click here for my review).  In that review, I noted that my choice to read McGrath was heavily influenced by John Self’s enthusiasm for the author.  In the…

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2011 Nobel Prize for Literature

Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature “because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality” (see the press release here). For those who keep track, he is the first poet to win since 1996, when Wislaw Szymborska won.  However, he…

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David Long: “Oubliette”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  David Long’s “Oubliette” was originally published in the October 10, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. I had to read this one twice to discover that I quite liked it,…

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2011 Giller Prize Shortlist

The 2011 Giller Prize shortlist has been announced. The Free Word, by David Bezmozgis (my review here) The Antagonists, by Lynn Coady The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt (my review here) Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, by Zsuzsi Gartner (my review here) The Cat’s Table,…

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Zsuzsi Gartner: Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

Last year I had some problems with Giller shortlisted story collection This Cake Is for the Party, by Sarah Selecky (my review here).   In the acknowledgments page of this year’s third story collection, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives (2011), author Zsuzsi Gartner thanks Sarah Selecky for “jetpacks of psychic fuel.”  Knowing nothing more…

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Steven Millhauser: We Others

I’ve been struggling for a while to figure out what to do for my October recommendations.  Obviously October recommendations have to center around something haunting if not outright horrific — but all in a fun way.  Sure, I’ve reviewed several horrific novels here, like Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (click here for my review; my opinion…