Articles by Colin Marshall

September 12, 2011

Nobody Hearts L.A.: A Personal Los Angeles Canon 10

I asked all the readers I could for their recommendations of “alternative,” “adventurous,” “unusual,” “non-canonical,” or just “weird” Los Angeles novels.

April 22, 2011

Smirking Obsessives: a Primer on the Novels of Lynne Tillman 4

The more detailed your map of the Tillmanverse, the richer you’ll find your own wanderings through it.

January 20, 2011

Darts and Philosophy, Bowling and Metaphysics: A Primer on the Novels of Jean-Philippe Toussaint 3

Toussaint deals with both the little irritations and the Big Questions, usually in as close a proximity as possible, and he respects no boundary between fiction and nonfiction.

November 19, 2010

Consciousness on the Page: A Primer on the Novels of Nicholson Baker 2

Nicholson Baker understands how often people think about sex, but he also understands that, often times, they just think about shoelaces — and he understands those thoughts of sex and shoelaces aren’t as far apart, in form or in content, as they might at first seem.

October 5, 2010

The Un-Ironist: A Primer on Douglas Coupland’s Novels 9

How ironic that Douglas Coupland, the man who popularized the term “Generation X”, turns out to be one of the least ironic novelists of his generation. His novels may, on the whole, be loaded with typographical trickery, brand names of the nanosecond, slacking youngsters, and Simpsons references, but he’s also deep into a suite of timelessly, radically un-hip novelistic themes.

August 19, 2010

The Ballad of David Markson: A Primer 15

What might you have already read that suggests you’ll like David Markson? Tough call, since, for good or ill, nothing’s like David Markson.

July 16, 2010

No More Lying: a Primer on the Novels of B.S. Johnson 1

Joyce, Beckett and B.S. Johnson all tried to move the novel forward, to shove it out of the 19th-century ditch its spinning wheels seemed only to dig deeper. To tell a story, he thought (and often said), was to tell a lie, to futilely pretend away the chaos of modern existence and pander to humanity’s base, vulgar desire to find out what happened next.

June 1, 2010

Linguistic Revenge: An Alexander Theroux Primer 13

Defending his prose, Theroux once likened it to “a Victorian attic.” He delivers more inner life than outer, more desire for vengeance than for anything else, and more sheer stuff per page — stuff you don’t expect — than any other novelist.

May 4, 2010

The Scientifically Surreal, Eerily Erotic Novels of Kobo Abe 4

Abe’s detractors mutter “Something’s very wrong here — but what?” Abe’s fans mutter “Something’s very right here — but what?”