new facts –

or; facts only Lucy Ellmann can confirm: the fact that I don’t take any pride in housework, as far as I know, which isn’t very Amish of me, house-proud Hausfrau, housewife, homemaker, the fact that I come from a long line of people who took no pride in housekeeping, … the fact that when I…

the fact that –

As if struggling my way through more than 900 pages of William H Gass’ isn’t already too much … Yesterday I had a quick glance at Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport (a 1,000 page novel, more or less one-sentence stream of consciousness, told from inside the mind of an Ohio mother as she worries about everything…

Dept. of Speculation

What Rilke said: I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone. Somehow, I was sure Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation would read very much like Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, a much-praised book, which I unfortunately have to admit, I really didn’t like at all. And so the Department ……

Just when I thought I was finished reading theory …

… my desk is once again filled with philosophical texts. It might be hard to find a common theme in the stack of books in front of me, but I guess they all in some sense could fit on a shelf labelled “philosophy of life” – or maybe: getting old (with grace) is the least…

Darkness at Noon

Noon Hour BY PEGGY TROJAN Unless hot lunch at schoolwas serving something speciallike corn chowderand baking powder biscuitsor creamed chipped beefpotatoes and browniesI went hometo what mymother madelike most town kids Jack walked the furthestalmost to the riverto his unpainted houseby the railroad tracksWe all knew nobody was therehis mom at the tavern alreadyHe always…

A degree of darkness

I spent my weekend in a graphic workshop learning the art of cyanotype. Or, to be more precise, studying the method of cyanotype – the art will hopefully enter into my work as I go along. Cyanotype is a nineteenth century photographic process using chemicals that produce beautiful blue prints when exposed to sunlight. The…

On light & liquid sentences

(TIDYING BY READING, PART 3) Years ago, I bought a copy of Gerald Murnane’s book The Plains (1982), a novel summarised in following words by the publisher: The Plains is a short novel about a young filmmaker who travels to a fictive country far within Australia, where his failure to make a film is perhaps…

W.G. Sebald – short biobibliographical notes

W.G. Sebald, in full Winfried Georg Sebald, (born May 18, 1944, Wertach, Allgäu, Germany—died December 14, 2001, Norwich, England), German-English novelist and scholar who was known for his haunting, non-chronologically constructed stories. Sebald’s work imaginatively explored themes of memory, especially as they related to the Holocaust. His novels include Schwindel, Gefühle (1990; Vertigo), Die Ausgewanderten (1992; The Emigrants), Die Ringe des Saturn (1995; The Rings of Saturn), Logis…

Why Read Sebald?

He is utterly despairing, particularly in The Rings of Saturn. It’s terrible, beautiful, and there’s no hope.          — Ali Smith I’ve been here before, at my desk, with all the books by W.G Sebald (which unfortunately isn’t that many) in front of me. My plan is to (re)read The Rings of Saturn. Did I read it…