Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays

Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion My rating: 5 of 5 stars She had announced her willingness to cause her subjects pain in Slouching towards Bethlehem, but at the heart of Didion's sense of morality and her sense of style, which cannot be separated, hurting the reader's feelings is also part of the … Continue reading Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf My rating: 5 of 5 stars Few novels have been as ill-served by their canonization as Mrs. Dalloway. Assimilated to the classic tradition of the English novel, read alongside Austen by moodboard autumn rainlight with tea and crumpets, this slim modernist anti-novel was in fact a small-press (effectively self-published) attempt … Continue reading Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

César Aira, Ema, the Captive

Ema, the Captive by César Aira My rating: 4 of 5 stars Reading and rereading Wilde over the years, I note a fact that his panegyrists seem not even to have suspected: the elementary and demonstrable fact that Wilde is nearly always right. —Jorge Luis Borges, "On Oscar Wilde" (trans. Esther Allen) Art never expresses … Continue reading César Aira, Ema, the Captive

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 by William H. Gass; see Samuel R. Delany's here and Brian A. Oard's beautifully comprehensive one, starting here.) I thought to do the same, but the … Continue reading A Personal Canon