Books

In Conversation

RICHARD SIEBURTH with Adam Fitzgerald

Last summer, I sat down with Sieburth in a bar in New York and began talking about his career in translation in light of Ashbery’s then-recently released translation of Rimbaud’s Illuminations. Soon, our conversation shifted to arguably the 20th century’s greatest and most influential translator, Ezra Pound.

BIOGRAPHY
Flawed Composition

Draw a Straight Line and Follow It purports to be a definitive biography of the famous but elusive avant-garde American composer La Monte Young (born 1935) and thus of particular interest to those involved in transcendental black metal, experimental electronica, psychoacoustic drone, and difficult noise music.

FICTION
The Young and the Radical

The Muslim American novel has arrived, and it is titled American Dervish. There have been other novels by and about Muslim Americans, but Ayad Akhtar’s tale distinguishes itself from its predecessors—and, one can safely predict, from its successors—by probing controversial aspects of Islam alongside its sympathetic portrayal of one Muslim American boy’s maturation.

FICTION
Resurrected Fiction

The Book of Khalid is a picaresque novel that tells the story of two teens at the turn of the 20th century, the dreamy truth-seeker Khalid (which means “eternal”) and the poet Shakib, who migrate from then-Lebanon to America to make their fortunes.

FICTION
Salvation Army of One

Isabel is a young thrift-store shopper who developed her love for cast-off curios at the age of four when her father took her junking. From that point on she became smitten, intoxicated by “ephemera” and shards of the past.

FICTION
Status of Limitations

In 420 Characters, Beach has crafted a serious work of fiction, leaving plenty to discuss. Beach—a prolific artist and illustrator whose work has appeared in Wired, the New Yorker, and Time—understands the power of compact storytelling.

FICTION
Fall Into the Future

Leigh Stein’s debut novel The Fallback Plan plumbs the Weltschmerz of lost innocence with a splendid mix of seriousness, imagination, and deadpan humor. In the present-day world of quick answers—“What will your life be like in 20 years? Click here to take the quiz and find out!”­ as one of the chapter titles reads—Stein’s narrator reckons with her irreclaimable childhood.

RAPID TRANSIT
Part Epitaph, Part History, Part Malaprop, Part Orgasm

The poet should drag you down and put a stone on your heart. Likewise, the poet should infuse you with the giddiest exultation of inflamed passion.

FICTION
The Man With the Golden Pen

Like previous druggie fiction, Drew Hubner’s new novel, East of Bowery, hits all the low spots, giving readers a panoramic tour of the burnt-out squats, copping places, and holding pens that make up a user’s habitual itinerary.

FICTION
A Diminished Season

This latest offering from Canadian-born, London-based David Szalay explores the up-and-down, win-and-lose trials of love and money.

CHRISTOPHER BOLLEN with Joseph Klarl

On a dreary Thursday afternoon I ducked into Housing Works in SoHo to meet with Christopher Bollen, novelist and editor at large of Interview. Over coffee, we escaped the rain and casually discussed the panic of Lightning People (Soft Skull Press, 2011), his haunting, ingenious debut.

FICTION
Going Back to Patchogue

When the Dalkey Archive first published Thomas McGonigle’s Going to Patchogue in 1991, it might have been quickly judged as a self-consciously avant-garde Künstlerroman in the American tradition, harping at the country’s stubborn resistance to fostering its artists.

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MAR 2012

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