John Pistelli


A Personal Canon

A number of book bloggers are posting their personal canons. They are very fun: see here, here, and here, for instance. (It reminds me of the “literary pillars” exercise inspired … Continue reading

30 April 2017 · 8 Comments

J. M. Coetzee, The Schooldays of Jesus

The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee My rating: 4 of 5 stars This sequel to Coetzee’s The Childhood of Jesus (2013) provides further adventures of Davíd, Simón, and Inés … Continue reading

18 March 2017 · 1 Comment

In Defense of Pevear and Volokhonsky

Janet Malcolm contributes the latest polemic against Richard Pevear and Linda Volokhonsky (hereafter P&V), the famed husband-and-wife translators of the Russian classics, whose preeminence in their field is now being … Continue reading

4 June 2016 · 4 Comments

David Attwell, J. M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face-to-Face with Time

J. M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face-to-Face with Time by David Attwell My rating: 4 of 5 stars David Attwell’s book is billed as a “literary biography,” presumably … Continue reading

9 November 2015 · 1 Comment

Notes on Notes on Notes: Reading Coetzee’s Diary (Vicariously)

I was never much for archival work. I am as vain and arrogant as any unproven writer who occasionally imagines his future book blurbs, as in that chastening passage from … Continue reading

16 May 2015 · 1 Comment

Goodreads Reviews September/October

My Goodreads reviews for the last month or so, novels and poetry and comics. Daniel Clowes, Ghost World Les Murray, Dog Fox Field Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, All-Star Superman … Continue reading

10 October 2014 · Leave a comment

J. M. Coetzee, The Master of Petersburg

The Master of Petersburg by J.M. Coetzee My rating: 5 of 5 stars Coetzee’s Dostoevsky novel. I wonder, in a sense, why Coetzee attempted it: he well knows Dostoevsky is … Continue reading

23 September 2014 · 1 Comment

“Don’t get rid of art; get rid of social relations.”

Later, as the 1980s came to a close, publishing began to change, and there were obstacles. She began to complain to me that publishers seemed to want her to be … Continue reading

19 April 2014 · Leave a comment

Penitential Realism?

It’s been almost fourteen years since James Wood warned us about “hysterical realism,” presumably the major novelistic mode of the late twentieth century.  According to Wood, it is a mode … Continue reading

17 November 2013 · 4 Comments

J. M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus

The following is an interpretation of J. M. Coetzee’s 2013 novel, The Childhood of Jesus. It has two minor prologues, explaining its methods and providing epigraphs, on my Tumblr: see … Continue reading

7 April 2013 · 3 Comments