Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sim city

The new Bookforum is partially online. My review of The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim is only in the paper issue as of now. I like the coverline: "Why Jonathan Coe Deserves an American Audience."

(I've read most of/finished some good pieces already—Ruth Franklin on Joyce Carol Oates, Erik Davis on Robert Duncan's The H.D. Book, Rivka Galchen on Lydia Davis/Madame Bovary...there's something by Paul La Farge...)


Coe notes:

Thank you to Gautam, who sent me a copy of The Rain Before It Falls several years ago—I talk about it a bit in the piece.


My essay in the Times about the longest sentence was the original impetus behind rereading Coe's The Rotters' Club. What a book!


I reviewed Coe's biography of B.S. Johnson, Like a Fiery Elephant, when it came out in 2005, but did not dwell much on the ending. I do so in this Bookforum piece, as it is clearly a source for a chunk of the new novel.

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Blogger Levi Stahl said...

It's hard to overstate how good The Rotters Club is; sadly, The Closed Circle is incredibly disappointing--it offers a very convincing portrayal of fin-de-last-siecle Britain, but it--this is a strong word, but I think it fits--betrays a lot of the admirable qualities of the first novel: the open, episodic, ambiguous qualities of the plot that make the novel feel so much like life.

But why complain? The Rotters Club is brilliant; The Winshaw Legacy is wonderful; and though I haven't read Coe's book on B. S. Johnson, the fact that Coe's praise helped get The Unfortunates back into print (and bring it to my attention) is plenty of reason to be grateful to him.

10:30 PM  

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