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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Wednesday 05 September 2007

Bolaño and Coetzee

A very busy day here. To cap it -- exciting stuff -- the new Coetzee (Diary of a Bad Year) arrived: yay! I've read about 75 pages so far ... and, actually, I'm not that bothered as yet. There is a plainess to Coetzee's writing that is so austere that it is almost rudely unpolished. I'm not sure I'm always convinced by this.

I did manage to write a longish blog about the Sony Reader over on Editor's Corner, so that's good.

Oh: Benjamin Kunkel on Roberto Bolaño over at the LRB.

Now, back to Coetzee.

Update: This wee post was originally entitled Bolaño and Sebald. That was a mistake! An interesting Freudian slip, though. Nothing here, to be said about Sebald: it was Coetzee I wanted to mention. But I'm intrigued I made the mistake -- both writers do, I think, have a deep connection which I want to ponder on. For now, sorry about my foolishness!

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Reader Comments

Friday 07 September 2007

Charlotte Mandell says...

...and Sebald? Please say more!

Saturday 08 September 2007

Leora Skolkin-Smith says...

I may be the only one to have really been upset to read Benjamin Kunkel's review of Bolerno. Here, an obviously "American" kind of writer (I am trying not be ungracious or unkind here here, but Kunkel's first book was bought immediately in triple zero sums and a New York Times best of the ten whatever, and mostly, though I never read it because it didn't have a theme that spoke to me)... rips into a writer like Bolerno whose stands as the very opposite of such privilege. I honestly am further dismayed that Kunkel's review got such a large attention in the London Review of Books. Casting Bolerno in such terms as Kunkel did was not only a disservice to Bolerno's work. . And since I have recently traveled in Latin America, Bolerno really speaks to me even more, seeing the obverse reflection of America's version of reality and meaning.

I do not at all support Kunkel's review or critique in any way, it just saddens me. Unlike Kerouac, Bolerno was an amazingly gifted and painfully neglected writer whose work is full of both the passion and lust and faith Mr. Kunkel seems not be able to even attempt to credit. Very disheartening. I'm not saying Bolernos' work was perfect, much if it was raw, but it was not what is represented in that review by Kunkel. I do hope readers won't buy into that kind of review.

I really enjoyed your review of Coetzee, Mark. I admire Coetzee and read WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS with great awe. I did really love "Disgrace". But my knowledge of his later books is really poor, so I appreciate reading this.
And yes, yes, waiting to hear more about Sebald

Sunday 09 September 2007

Stan Izen says...

Where is Sebald in this post?

Sunday 09 September 2007

Stephen Mitchelmore says...

And who is "Bolerno"?

Monday 10 September 2007

Leora Skolkin-Smith says...

Oh, Lord. I meant Bolano, not Bolerno. Roberto Bolano.

So sorry, sloppy of me. I got too ticked off by the review, ha!

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Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
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followed me, burning.

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To such endless impressions
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Averno (Carcanet Press)

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