Out this week: The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg; If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim; The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor; Nothing Good Can Come from This by Kristi Coulter; Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah; and Open Me by Lisa Locascio.
Three decades after his death, the work of Romanian writer Max Blecher remains largely unavailable in English. Ricky D’Ambrose writes for The Nation about Blecher’s work. As he puts it, “Max Blecher is an obsessive saboteur of the breach between two seemingly irreconcilable positions: revulsion and lust.”
Last week, I mentioned Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes, which caused a stir in Germany with its tale of a time-hopping Hitler. Now, Daniel Torday reviews the book for the Times, judging it both for its historical research and its merits as a work of fiction. Sample quote: “The German public’s acceptance of the artist they think they’re watching provides a critique of pop culture. But it feels like bringing the Luftwaffe to a knife fight.”
The deadline for DIAGRAM’s annual essay contest is fast approaching. Past winners include Peter Jay Shippy’s “Goonies: or Wallace Stevens’s ‘The Snowman’–an Essay in 7 Films” and (my all-time favorite) Cheyenne Nimes’s “SECTION 404 OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THE SANTA CRUZ RIVER SAND SHARK, SUBTITLED ‘THIS TROUBLESOME REGULATORY CONSTRAINT’.”
Trend alert: there’s been a surprising proliferation of literary site spinoffs lately. First The Toast began The Butter, and then Electric Literature started Okey-Panky. Now the Los Angeles Review of Books joins the movement with The Offing, an online lit mag launching later this month.