it isn't a Kafka knock-off - it's very unique,though it resemble Kafka .in a way,all of Platonov's writing is political, but the genius of his writing,imo,is when the political issues are the subtext of the story,not the story itself: isnt that (among other things) what makes a great art - the beauty of the transformation from "message" to "imagery"?he did it not only because he was a talented writer but also because of the censorship and fear of the goverment,but sometimes,ironically those restaints produce great art..
― Zeno, Thursday, 22 October 2009 11:39 (3 years ago) Permalink
"Soul" is fantastic, Jules. Summary: geezer goes to be Soviet rep dude to some dwindling, semi-migratory tribe, goes fairly native. You can have a lend of my copy if you want (it's a Harvill not an NYRB, soz). It didn't feel like Kafka, to me. I liked "The Foundation Pit" too, and have read the stories in "The Return" and the feeling I came away with wasn't really gentleness but a slightly panicky inability to move.
(I note that in his Wikipedia page Andrey is being played by Denholm Elliott: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Platonov.)
"The political issues are the subtext of the story, not the story itself" - yes, this, but (in "Soul" and "TFP" I think) it's a subtext which makes the story wrench and scream.
― Tim, Thursday, 22 October 2009 11:51 (3 years ago) Permalink
lolz I spent a good five mins trying to work the Denholm Elliott 'thing'. Thanks for the offer, Tim, I'll take.
I see that the translator himself 'comments' on the Amazon page for the book.
― xyzzzz__, Thursday, 22 October 2009 16:51 (3 years ago) Permalink
Book Court in Cobble/Boerum Hill has a whole shelf just of NYRB books.
― the onimo effect (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 10 December 2009 21:54 (3 years ago) Permalink
hey--does anyone know a place in brooklyn, say, in the cobble hill or boerum hill area, where i can find these books?
― max, Thursday, 10 December 2009 21:56 (3 years ago) Permalink
I think somebody might have posted about that way up thread.
― the onimo effect (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 10 December 2009 22:03 (3 years ago) Permalink
(Thought it wasn't supposed to let me do that.)
Are there any shops that deal in books by New Directions in London?
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 13:46 (2 years ago) Permalink
I think I've seen some of their stuff in Charing X Foyles. But maybe a while ago - have a half-sense that Foyles have made their stock-buying a bit less idiosyncratic - others might know more.
― tetrahedron of space (woof), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 13:53 (2 years ago) Permalink
Other thing is I don't see (unlike Dalkey and NYRB) a lot of New directions stuff 2nd hand. Maybe it just hasn't registered..
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 14:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
have a half-sense that Foyles have made their stock-buying a bit less idiosyncratic
Been a while since I worked there, but even at the time it was part of the remit to move from the old (admittedly ludicrously haphazard and expensive) habits to the new ones. We were still encouraged to take a punt on eccentric hunches (my favourite was getting in a load of Anatomy of Melancholy when NYRB republished it - nowhere else in London got it in, and I took loads - bonanza) but, even if that doesn't go on any more (and after all the misses were greater than the hits), I think there's still a general attempt to take a more left-field approach to things. As much as anything this makes sound business sense, separating you out from competitors. Like anywhere else tho, it's the computer books and medical stuff that brings home the bacon. (Plus true crime and big big blockbusters). Any largish bookshop would be a fool to miss out on that.
Don't know about New Directions, mind, haven't been in for a while, but worth asking, as given a sympathetic ear, they might start getting them in to see how they sell, even if they haven't already.
― GamalielRatsey, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 14:28 (2 years ago) Permalink
That NYRB shelf at Book Court is so enticing. It makes me feel like there's this entire alternate universe of great literature I've never read.
― surfer blood for oil (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 16:19 (2 years ago) Permalink
Thinking some more, it might have been Borders where I saw them - back in their UK heyday when they had lots of American books unavailable elsewhere (didn't use Amazon back then). The only things I know I've seen, though, are the Ezra Pound editions.
So that isn't very helpful.
― tetrahedron of space (woof), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 16:37 (2 years ago) Permalink
That's ok. So much of what's on their Latin American and Asian lists interests me.
I guess I'll eventually have to start buying things on amazon.
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 11:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
they really are like the criterion collection of book publishers. the jg farrell ones are my favorite i've read thus far, particularly 'troubles'.
― ('_') (omar little), Wednesday, 4 August 2010 16:14 (2 years ago) Permalink
That's an interesting comparison.
― Un peu d'Eire, ça fait toujours Dublin (Michael White), Wednesday, 4 August 2010 16:17 (2 years ago) Permalink
Thinking about getting Anatomy of Melancholy soon.
― Generation Blecch (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 4 August 2010 18:00 (2 years ago) Permalink
they really are like the criterion collection of book publishers.
― pies. (gbx), Wednesday, 4 August 2010 18:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
A few NYRB favourites, pulled out of my head at random...
Any and all Tove Jansson and JG Farrell, as you said, plus Stefan Zweig
LJ Davis: A Meaningful Life -- black suburbanite comedy, very uncomfortably funnyAdolfo Bioy Cesares: The Invention of Morel -- clever, mind-twisting sci-fiChristopher Priest: Even cleverer, more mind-twisting sci-fiHarvey Swados: At Night in the Gardens of Brooklyn -- wonderful short story collectionJR Ackerley: My Dog Tulip, My Father and Myself, We Think the WOrld of You -- the first two are memoirs, the 3rd a novel, all greatWilliam Attaway: Blood on the Forge -- savage, bleak, amazing story about two black brothers in the 1930sFrigyes Karinthy: A Journey Round my Skull -- funny and fascinating memoir of brain injuryDezső Kosztolányi: Skylark -- beautiful short book about doting parents whose daughter goes away on a holiday, causing them to break out as gamblers, drinkers, eaters, etc etc
Man, so many other gems, cant list them all. Am also especially looking forward to:
The Three Christs of Ypsilanti: "On July 1, 1959, at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, the social psychologist Milton Rokeach brought together three paranoid schizophrenics: Clyde Benson, an elderly farmer and alcoholic; Joseph Cassel, a failed writer who was institutionalized after increasingly violent behavior toward his family; and Leon Gabor, a college dropout and veteran of World War II.
The men had one thing in common: each believed himself to be Jesus Christ. Their extraordinary meeting and the two years they spent living together serves as the basis for this poignant and often hilarious investigation into the nature of human identity, belief, and delusion. With novelistic momentum and insight, Rokeach takes us into the lives of these three incredible and, despite their common claim, altogether singular personalities who find themselves “confronted with the ultimate contradiction conceivable for human beings: more than one person claiming the same identity.”
In scenes of remarkable power and vividness (“I'm telling you I'm God!” “You're not!” “I'm God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost! I know what I am. . .”) we see the three Christs argue, proclaim, and soliloquize about the nature of their contentious divinity, and are given a window onto one of the most remarkable psychological case studies on record. "
― The great big red thing, for those who like a surprise (James Morrison), Thursday, 5 August 2010 01:04 (2 years ago) Permalink
Harvey Swados: At Night in the Gardens of Brooklyn -- wonderful short story collection
this is really terrific & its kinda so good that i think anything i cld say wld do it a disservice? its fantastic imo
if i were doing a pov i think id choose:
vladimir sorokin: ice - 'flat' kinda minimal russian horror + socialist realist parody + ad-speak parody don carpenter: hard rain falling - impressionistic 50s crime novel really beautiful mavis gallant short story collection - i just like her voice stark and knowing and terriblestefan zweig: post-office girl - idk... unrelenting? really wonderful tho gregor von rizzi: memoirs of an anti-semite - five interconnected stories abt a central european aristocrat 'dark and funny'
― ☼ (Lamp), Thursday, 5 August 2010 04:33 (2 years ago) Permalink
hey lamp we were talking sorokin on the shakey hates books thread--if i read sacred book of the werewolf and found it readble and engaging but haaaaaated the buddhist theologizing, would i like ice
― max, Thursday, 5 August 2010 04:38 (2 years ago) Permalink
i like the opies' 'lore and language of schoolchildren' (mentioned above), it's got an amazing ethnographic touch. i only wish it were more about american children (or slightly latter-day ones).
their recent selection of thoreau's journals (chosen by damion searls, of the recent melville redaction) is very nice too.
― j., Thursday, 5 August 2010 04:39 (2 years ago) Permalink
i read like a quarter of 'the long ships' in the bookstore the other day it was so rad
― max, Thursday, 5 August 2010 04:39 (2 years ago) Permalink
ice is really readable and for the first third really riveting but he does sacrifice story/character/language for the sake of explicating the thematic/structural ideas hes interested in - i think maybe if you dont care much about post-stalin russian lit the middle section in particular might be a slog. i mean the arguments hes making arent as repetitive/textual as the ones in werewolf but they infect the very form hes using.
― ☼ (Lamp), Thursday, 5 August 2010 04:50 (2 years ago) Permalink
im a lot more interested in post-stalin russian lit than a werewolf explaining buddhism 102
― max, Thursday, 5 August 2010 05:48 (2 years ago) Permalink
max werent you guys talking abt victor pelevin on the other thread, rather than sorokin? or are you just comparing the two
― just sayin, Thursday, 5 August 2010 07:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
― max, Thursday, 5 August 2010 07:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
all those russian "v"s
― just sayin, Thursday, 5 August 2010 07:29 (2 years ago) Permalink
lets not tell anyone about this
― max, Thursday, 5 August 2010 07:35 (2 years ago) Permalink
Last night in Grand Central I picked up the The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick and the one I've read so far is ace.
― The Wayne Shorter Dinah Shore Test (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 22 October 2010 17:13 (2 years ago) Permalink
Picked up Paul Schmidt's The Stray Dog Cabaret last weekend.
― Ballard, Dick (Eazy), Friday, 22 October 2010 18:54 (2 years ago) Permalink
their edition of félix fénéon's novels in three lines has a great introductory essay
― ======.======= (Lamp), Monday, 25 October 2010 00:03 (2 years ago) Permalink
Yes. Was having trouble getting into that book- I usually avoid reading forewords and back cover summaries to avoid spoilers- but after reading your post I went back and read that intro and it is essential.
― The Wayne Shorter Dinah Shore Test (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 25 October 2010 15:05 (2 years ago) Permalink
Couldn't get into Novels in Three Lines myself: principle + Santé enthused me, but Barnes in the LRB cooled me a little bit again - plus I wasn't enjoying the experience of reading it that much.
― portrait of velleity (woof), Monday, 25 October 2010 16:41 (2 years ago) Permalink
that barnes piece is sorta half right or maybe its right in letter but not in spirit. like santé (and the publishers) probably go too far in 'contextualizing' the work but its wrong to freight the thing with too much significance or 'meaning' either way. fénéon's life and his philiosophy were interesting to read about & some of santés parallels (like the futurists quote) seem correct, or at least illuminating. & really a beautiful turn of phrase, real wit, economy of form all these have value of their own - i dont think the collection needs to be 'ART' or w/e barnes wants it to be.
it also helps not to read them all at a time but just a page or two a day, i found.
― soda lake swame (Lamp), Tuesday, 26 October 2010 23:39 (2 years ago) Permalink
Reading Grossman's brilliant unfinished novel Everything Flows, might have to chase up on The Road.
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 19:49 (2 years ago) Permalink
The Road's pretty great -- collection of stories, articles, letters -- the later stories especially are wonderful. I've not read any other Grossman, though 'Life and Fate' is looming hugely on a shelf
― buildings with goats on the roof (James Morrison), Thursday, 28 October 2010 04:10 (2 years ago) Permalink
we appear to have a bunch of remainders come in
― thomp, Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:44 (2 years ago) Permalink
I bought "In Hazard" by Richard Hughes for a couple of quid without any particularly high expectations (I like Richard Hughes a lot and I like NYRB but I'm not so hot on yer maritime novels) - it's really very tremendous indeed.
― Tim, Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:57 (2 years ago) Permalink
any recommendations from this lot?
stephen benatar, wish her safe at homemavis gallant, the cost of livinggeoffrey household, rogue malejakov lind, soul of woodguy de maupassant, afloataudrey platonov, the foundation pitvictor serge, unforgiving yearsfrancis wyndham, the complete fictionstefan zweig, the post-office girl
― thomp, Thursday, 28 October 2010 15:52 (2 years ago) Permalink
francis wyndham, that sounds good. complete things are always better.
also, mavis gallant is a good name, and 'the cost of living' sounds like it could be about Important Things.
so i say those.
― j., Thursday, 28 October 2010 17:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
Unforgiving Years is great, but I haven't read many of those.
I read Season of Migration to the North a few months ago and really enjoyed it.
― clotpoll, Thursday, 28 October 2010 17:34 (2 years ago) Permalink
thomp, I read Gallant's "Paris Stories' a while back and I'm genuinely curious about 'The Cost of Living'.
― A Reclaimer Hewn With (Michael White), Thursday, 28 October 2010 17:44 (2 years ago) Permalink
Platonov and Serge, from that list.
The NYRB have done really well to assemble some of the really good stuff from the former USSR.
All we need now is the complete tales from Shalamov's Kolyma Tales cycle. xp
― xyzzzz__, Thursday, 28 October 2010 17:47 (2 years ago) Permalink
I really liked Platonov's Foundation Pit, but I think his collection of stories is better. Would like to read most of the rest of that list, thomp.
― wmlynch, Thursday, 28 October 2010 21:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
stephen benatar, wish her safe at home -- very good, very dark comedy - woman comes to own London house, goes madgeoffrey household, rogue male -- superior adventure thriller about a big game hunter in the 1930s who decides to hunt down Hitlerjakov lind, soul of wood -- brutal but excellentguy de maupassant, afloat -- lovely non-fictional record of boating tripaudrey platonov, the foundation pit -- brutal but excellentfrancis wyndham, the complete fiction -- so, so, so goodstefan zweig, the post-office girl -- I love Zweig, and this is wonderful--sort of post WW1 Bonnie-and-Clyde in Germany, but with lots more to it
― buildings with goats on the roof (James Morrison), Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:29 (2 years ago) Permalink
I love Zweig, and this is wonderful--sort of post WW1 Bonnie-and-Clyde in Germany, but with lots more to it
I will definitely check this out.
― A Reclaimer Hewn With (Michael White), Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:48 (2 years ago) Permalink