“Above all, Blinding insists that memory can make a world. “The past is everything, the future nothing.” From that past – which stretches back to encompass all of human history – Cartarescu has fashioned a novel of visionary intensity. Bring on the next instalment – soon.”
-Boyd Tonkin, from his review of Mircea’s Blinding in The Independent (in case you missed it).
"For American readers, Knausgaard’s writing is striking in its freedom from telling details, well-wrought similes, conspicuous fine-tuning...
Knausgaard rejects chiseled sentences in favor of a cumulative effect, and the flatness, the openness, the sprawl provide the space necessary for his discursive treatment of everyday life, allowing the reader to exist inside the narrator’s mind, to see as he sees.”
-From "Scandinavian Style," Sophie Pinkham’s article on My Struggle in n + 1
"Like Warhol, he makes no attempt to be interesting. But it’s not the same kind of boredom Warhol celebrated, not that clean kind which, as Andy had it, makes “the meaning go away,” leaving you so much “better and emptier.” Knausgaard’s boredom is baroque. It has many elaborations: the boredom of children’s parties, of buying beers, of being married, writing, being oneself, dealing with one’s family. It’s a cathedral of boredom. And when you enter it, it looks a lot like the one you yourself are living in. (Especially true if, like Karl Ove, you happen to be a married writer. Such people are susceptible to the peculiar charms of Karl Ove.) It’s a book that recognizes the banal struggle of our daily lives and yet considers it nothing less than a tragedy that these lives, filled as they are not only with boredom but with fjords and cigarettes and works by Dürer, must all end in total annihilation.
But nothing happens! our dissenter cried. Still, a life filled with practically nothing, if you are fully present in and mindful of it, can be a beautiful struggle.”
-From Zadie Smith’s essay "Man vs. Corpse" inThe New York Review of Books.
In Flanders Fields
The soil here’s the richest.
Even after all these years without manure
you could grow a dead-man’s leek
to beat the best.
The British verterans grow scarce.
Each year they point out to their scarcer friends:
Hill Sixty, Hill Sixty-One, Poelcapelle.
In Flanders Fields the threshers drive
in ever tighter rings around the winding lines
of hardened sandbags, the bowels of death.
The local butter
tastes of poppies.
-From Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus (released November 12th by Archipelago)
The Flip-House: The main stage of the Bulgarian Collaborative’s Smuggle Tactics exhibition.
What: A multilingual flash mob, shining a spotlight on translated and international literature - as well as the diversity of Queens communities! (Part of the larger Smuggle Tactics Exhibition.)
When: Tomorrow (Saturday), November 16th, 2 pm
Where: Queens Museum
The flash mob is part of an ongoing public experiment called ‘Book Crossing’ (a part of the Smuggle Tactics Exhibition) that trades books over mainstream and off-stream social networks. Local immigrant communities and lovers of international literature are encouraged to smuggle books in translation or in their original language into the Queens Museum and deposit them in the Flip-House.
As an extension of the book-crossing, the multilingual flash mob will use the accumulated translated and international books to represent the diversity of the Queens community through a read-aloud. The ‘mob’ will begin to read out loud from the various books at a specific moment. Five minutes later, the mob will fall silent. At this point, readers will disperse, leaving their readings in a box.
ARCHIPELAGO has donated books to the ‘Book Crossing’ exhibition! You, too, should join the fun! Participate in the mob this Saturday or simply observe/listen!