The unhappiest book(s) ever written

I’ve become somewhat intrigued lately about not only my own genealogy but also that of some of the novels that I’ve been reading and re-reading for years. As my lovely wife points out in her own book, the spectral music of the middle-to-late twentieth century has its roots in the music of Liszt and Debussy; […]

Making a real sound

William Gass selects William Gaddis’s The Recognitions as one of the “12 Most Important Books in His Life”: The Recognitions was a thunderclap. It was a dull decade, the 50s, but here was a real sound. … And the 60s would be the novel’s best ten years. But here was Mr. Cranky to accompany Sir Style. […]

From the archives: “I think this is a shattered time”

As I follow the rather discouraging headlines, I’m reading (among other things, not least the Gospel of Luke, most suitable for these times with its emphasis on the poor, the marginalized, and the sick) Kenneth Paul Kramer’s Redeeming Time, a book-length study of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Last year on May 1 I published the […]