Another year, another year of Full Stop Features, and Peter Nowogrodzki is starting things off with a bang. In a thorough and engaging review, Nowogrodzki dives into Tan Lin’s miniature book The Patio and the Index.
I hope you had your Wheaties this morning, because this one is a doozy. Scientists at Poland’s Institute of Nuclear Physics have discovered complex "fractal" sentence patterning in classic works of literature that is nearly identical to "ideal" mathematics. Maybe Finnegans Wake does make sense, after all.
"Wallace’s fiction contains enormous cruelty... But it is also a deeply moral body of work. Its difficulties, and many of its cruelties, exist for specific reasons. Whether Wallace’s fraught projects are successes or failures is up to the individual, but these are judgments that all serious readers should want to make for themselves." Chris Power considers David Foster Wallace's short stories in an essay for The Guardian and argues that after Infinite Jest they just might be the most important work he produced.
Máirtín Ó Cadhain is probably the most famous Irish writer you haven’t heard of, if only because he wrote all his masterworks in Irish rather than English. His best novel, Cre na Cille, has a simple and arresting premise: a town in Connemara has a graveyard in which the dead can speak. In The Guardian, Kevin Barry (who we interviewed) reads the novel for the first time.
“A lot of writers are big readers. Very often, when you’re writing your day’s work, something you write will remind you of something that you read. And the thing that you read shines a kind of light on the sentences that you’re writing. So I think it would be very hard to write without having read a great deal.” Listen to Salman Rushdie chat with Paul Holdengraber about poetry, film, and his latest project. Liam Hoare writes on the implications of Rushdie’s fatwa.
Three weeks ago, Vishwas Gaitonde wrote a piece for us about a house in India once owned by the family of George Orwell. Now, in the Times, Jane Perlez pays a visit to Burma, where Orwell served in the Imperial Police Force and gathered impressions for his first novel, Burmese Days.