Three quick links for today:
It might be disappointing that, on this fundamental matter—the defense of literature, even print literature, as such—Egan’s text balks, just peers impassively down the barrel of self-erasure. Her stunt begs the question—can Twitter (the Web’s metonym) harbor literary fiction (wholeness, of a sort)? The story’s answer: literary fiction has already been harboring Twitter (disintegration). From a practical perspective (not an artistic one), it might be reassuring if Egan were to confirm our suspicions: that the Net is our black box now, a record of everything that catches the value of nothing, a triumph and a travesty of human individuality and agency, a tool that everyone can applaud (where else is it possible to dilate in this fashion on a recently published short story?), but an interface that only a mother could love. Against this Hydra-headed, Medusa-haired marvel, the homely book would appear to offer a silver bullet, supply a ready antidote. Maybe this dichotomy would be too easy. By Egan’s pen (keyboard? iPhone?), it wouldn’t be true. Instead, her story quietly suggests that literature isn’t necessarily innocent in our undoing: there’s no safe haven, no welcoming pre-digital past to return to.
On Jennifer Egan’s twitter-based story “Black Box”. [via Numéro Cinq]
Lispector is an author that requires the reader’s full participation, but the rewards are sizable. As with Virginia Woolf, she is best read at a brisk clip so as to activate her effects on one’s mind, although the books should also be revisited at a slower pace to ponder Lispector’s frequently aphoristic sentiments. It is tough to read this legendary writer and remain indifferent to the life she reveals to us. Her books open spaces within, where one can experience things as new. As she says in Água Viva, “my voice falls into the abyss of your silence. You read me in silence. But in this unlimited silent field I unfurl my wings, free to live.”
On Clarice Lispector and the five recent translations put out by New Directions. [via Barnes and Noble Review]
K.A.E.C. was absolutely surreal; I’ve never seen anything like it. When I was there, there was little more than a grid of roads cutting through desert as far as you could see in any direction. But then, by the Red Sea, there were beautiful canals being carved, and you could see the possibility that the city presents. If it’s executed to any extent, it would be an incredible thing, on a physical and symbolic level.
Dave Eggers and his latest book, A Hologram for the King. [via The New Yorker]