Monthly Archives: June 2012

Omnivore: Trees.

Omnivore is a regular report on some of the things that I’ve been enjoying during the week (or thereabouts).

Too many little things to take care of this week, so I’ve been going through Mercè Rodoreda’s Death in Spring very slowly.

I also watched Delicatessen for the first time. Except that after finishing it, there was a strong sense of déjà vu. I think I saw the last section before (from about the flooded room onwards) on the telly or something, but I’m not sure which channel I would have seen it on, so it doesn’t seem all that likely. I don’t know anyone who would have watched it with me either, so it can’t be that too. And the thing is that once you think you’ve seen it before, every single scene in the film eventually becomes oddly familiar and soon you can’t tell if you watched a part of the film before or simply the whole thing.

Glitch in the matrix, maybe.

d

Leave a comment

Filed under Omnivore

Edition Additions: Against boring literature.

against boring literature

Two books with quite handsome covers arrived yesterday. This is my first introduction to either writer. I heard brilliant things about another Wolf Haas book, and crime is always up my alley. Sergio Chejfec has been a name in bold capital letters on my list because of all the wonderful things that have been said about My Two Worlds, but things didn’t really work out that way (believe it or not, I’ve still yet to get my hands on it), so I’ll be starting with The Planets first.

d

Leave a comment

Filed under Edition Additions, Literature

Styles of Extinction.

The topic of style in McCarthy’s The Road unites the eight essays collected in Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Through close readings and hermeneutics, each writer explores “style as what negates, but also as what succumbs to, the entropic horizon of what, inexorably, is.”

Continuum have put out a book of essays on Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, entitled Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. [Continuum, via A Piece of Monologue]

Not too long ago, I was briefly thinking of working on something to do with The Road. A series of circumstances prevented me from doing so. Which is just as well since now I can simply enjoy the fruits of others’ labour.

d

1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy + Theory + Criticism

With Peter Blake.

“The first year was all life drawing,” he recalls. “But from the beginning of the second year I decided to make art that was about the life of a young working-class man and the things that interest him.” In his case that was wrestling, pin-up girls and circuses. His preoccupations overlapped with those of the Independent Group of artists and critics at the ICA, which included Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi, though the term Pop Art had yet to be coined – a task that fell, famously, to the critic Lawrence Alloway. “I was telling Lawrence that I wanted to make art that a teenage girl would appreciate in the same way she enjoyed an Elvis record. He said, ‘You mean a sort of pop art?’ ”

So that’s how the concept that defined an era came into being?

“That’s one version of how it happened,” says Blake. “I’m sure there are others.”

The Telegraph speaks to Peter Blake, the artist arguably most famous for providing the cover to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. [via The Telegraph]

d

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Music

“Appreciating Art” lecture series @ SAM.

The Singapore Art Museum will be running a series of seven lectures titled “Appreciating Art”, with a focus on contemporary South-East Asian art, from 20 July to 21 September. All lectures will be on Friday from 7.30p.m. to 9p.m. at the Glass Hall of the museum. Tickets are going at 12 SGD each, with a 20% discount if you buy the lot of them (which my hopefully-not-wrong arithmetic tells me is 67.20 SGD). Details in the link. [via Singapore Art Museum]

d

 

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Events

Literature round-up.

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]

d

1 Comment

Filed under Literature

Cogito.

There is a bit of Zbigniew Herbert poetry here, which probably ranks as one of the best ways to start a week. (Well, for an incredibly unsexy person such as yours truly anyway.) [via Time’s Flow Stemmed]

d

1 Comment

Filed under Literature

Rojak: “Last time it was a melancholy hillock.”

Rojak is a regular collection of assorted links as well as a bulletin summarising the week (or thereabouts) on this blog.

Assorted

Presumably Borges’ last recorded words in English. [via The American Scholar]

Pitchfork’s review of Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. [via Pitchfork]

David Lynch and painting. [YouTube, via A Piece of Monologue]

Text messages from drunk authors. [via The Paris Review]

Dirty Projectors on Fallon. [via Stereogum]

What a lovely photo. [via daily dose of imagery]

Bulletin

This week on WKLC:

d

Leave a comment

Filed under Rojak

Omnivore: In dreams.

Omnivore is a regular report on some of the things that I’ve been enjoying during the week (or thereabouts).

“The official ideology of the country is psychoanalysis.”

Svetislav Basara’s The Cyclist Conspiracy is a massive load of fun, and everyone should read it.

d

Leave a comment

Filed under Omnivore

New Quim Monzó incoming.

Quim Monzó, A Thousand Morons, trans. Peter Bush, 2012 (Source: Open Letter Books)

Open Letter will be putting out a translation of a new Quim Monzó collection this December. [via Open Letter Books] Like Guadalajara, it is translated by Peter Bush.

A Thousand Morons, Quim Monzó’s latest collection of short stories, is rife with very unfortunate characters. There’s the young boy in “A Cut” who is upbraided by his teacher when he rudely shows up for class with a huge gash in his neck. And the prince in “One Night” who tries everything to awaken a sleeping princess—yet fails completely.

Seeing that this is a Quim Monzó collection, absurdity offsets the “moronic” sadness. Such as “Love Is Eternal,” which features a man who decides to finally overcome his commitment issues and marry his dying girlfriend, only to have everything backfire; or “The Fullness of Summer,” in which a family meticulously records every moment of their gathering.

An excellent combination of longer, elegiac stories of “morons,” aging, and the passage of time—with short, flashier pieces that display Monzó’s wit and playfulness—make this one of the strongest collections in the oeuvre of Catalan’s short fiction master.

d

1 Comment

Filed under Literature