Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Harry Mathews, The Conversions (1962)

Here's the coolest thing that happened reading this novel: I came across a story about a guy travelling across Africa trading cowry shells to different tribes for different cowry shells with the ultimate goal of making a profit, and I had the damnedest sense of deja vu: why do I have this nagging feeling that I've read this before? I know this is my first time reading this book. THIS IS WEIRD ARGH. Then I realized: Mathews was the first (and for a long time only) American member of Oulipo, and he and Georges Perec were friends and mutual admirers. Life a User's Manual contains sundry tributes and references to other writers, some of which I got and some not, and BAM: I retroactively realized that one of them was to this very book. COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Read more »

Saturday, September 02, 2017

John Barth, LETTERS (1979)

Aargh, you want me to summarize LETTERS? Okay, but this is going to be the most ungainly thing possible. I'm not convinced there's an elegant way to do it.
Read more »