What Dalkey Archive Book Are You Reading?

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What Dalkey Archive Book Are You Reading?

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Feb 17, 2013, 7:16pm

I didn't see any thread like this, so I thought I'd start one, although I'm a sporadic Dalkey Archive reader.

I've just finished and reviewed The City Builder by George Konrad, a difficult to read and understand but beautifully written novel set in an unnamed still-communist Hungarian city.

Feb 18, 2013, 4:44am

I am sporadically reading The Tunnel, by Gass, and At Swim, Two Birds.

Jun 2, 2013, 1:40pm

I just started At Swim-Two-Birds (which I'll count, even though it's an older Penguin edition). I'm also reading The Review of Contemporary Fiction about Flann O'Brien (and realizing I'm almost two years behind with these things).

Jun 2, 2013, 4:04pm

At Swim--I have the Dalkey and it is being read 50 pages or so at a time with months in between. It's one of those books that needn't conclude, as far as I'm concerned.

Jun 2, 2013, 10:31pm

Try Chapel Road--Louis Paul Boon. An amazing work.

Jun 23, 2013, 8:20am

A mystifying but fun novella, Reticence by Jean-Philippe Toussaint.

Jun 24, 2013, 11:48am

I recently finished Harry Mathew's My Life in CIA. It is not a stunner, but it was a lot of fun. I'd recommend it as a Dalkey "beach read."

Editado: Mar 6, 2014, 8:06pm

Starting Women and Men. Woo.

Mar 7, 2014, 1:57am

I have Chapel Road in the bathroom, where it gets picked up more often than Perec.

Mar 7, 2014, 3:14pm

>9 RickHarsch:

That's an ambiguous statement. Picked up ... to be used a page at a time? Or perhaps you mean, to be read in relative privacy as the mood strikes.

Mar 7, 2014, 7:36pm

Sorry--it far exceeds the typical asswipe, especially as reading material

Mar 8, 2014, 4:58pm

I suspected as much, but found it amusing enough to ask for clarification.

Mar 8, 2014, 6:02pm

Which is not to say asswipe isn't the median literature

Oct 31, 2014, 11:29am

I've been reading it for more than a month, but I finally finished the remarkable and complex News from the Empire by Fernando del Paso.

Oct 31, 2014, 11:40am

>14 rebeccanyc:

A nice review. I've got several dense reads going so I'm not tempted to pick that one up just now. It seems rewarding though, and I'll confess off the bat that I was ignorant of the French link to Mexico. How bizarre history is, even that which is relatively recent.

Oct 31, 2014, 2:27pm

>15 elenchus: Thanks! I was aware of the episode because it figured as background in some French novels I've read (Zola????), but this was the first time I got the full picture.

Feb 7, 2015, 6:11pm

Started reading Cobra and Maitreya by Severo Sarduy "Cobra" is hallucinatory, word-drunk, postmodern, and fabulous. For those who loved Our Lady of the Flowers and Belize from Angels in America are in for a treat.

Jun 20, 2015, 12:18pm

I've finished the utterly mystifying Juan the Landless by Juan Goytisolo, which I would definitely call experimental even though Goytisolo explicitly rejects that term in his afterword.

Jun 20, 2015, 2:01pm

I began Alfau's Chromos and was just about 20 pages in, enjoying the lively sentences, the seamless wordplay, when I made the mistake of reading the preface that tells us he was a fascist, that he supported Franco in the Civil War. I am trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth before starting again.

Editado: Jun 20, 2015, 9:43pm

#19--FWIW two of Spain's best writers Camilo Jose Cela and Miguel Delibes both fought on the nationalist side in the Civil War. Cela worked briefly as a censor after the war. OTOH Delibes without a doubt took a sharp turn to the left. His novels very much anti-clerical and anti-authoritarian.

Anyway I think we've had a discussion before about Céline who is very distasteful to a lot of people but IMO one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Truth is just because you like to read this writer or that doesn't mean that you would like them if you actually met them nor does it mean you'd agree with any or all of the things they thought. An acquaintance of mine--a literature and romance languages professor was very big on all the Latin Boom and Nouveau Roman writers--loose associations if there ever were any. She actually got to know a few of them and had some acquaintance with a great many others. She knew and loved Robert Pinget, Michel Butor, Nathalie Sarraute and Luisa Valenzuela but she couldn't stand the French nobel winner Claude Simon--a dirty, disgusting and vile old man in her opinion and by the way Simon fought with the communists in the Spanish Civil War. I remember her telling me all about these people and I remember laughing when she started ranting about Simon. Another funny thing is I think Pinget and Simon were close friends.

Jun 23, 2015, 12:24pm

Currently reading 21 Days of a Neurasthenic by Octave Mirbeau. Very much in the spirit of Ferdinand Celine and William S. Burroughs, darkly comical scorched-earth-style satire.

In re: Celine: I think it would be beneficial to reprint his Anti-Semitic tracts (when he actively assisted The Vichy Regime), making them available for the popular audience, not just French literature scholars. While that may seem dangerous, it should be noted that other presses have reprinted The Turner Diaries, despite Timothy McVeigh using them as a blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing. Yes, the writing is dangerous, but so is burying it and keeping it away from people. Yes, Celine said some vile, racist, disgusting things, but shouldn't we also be able to see all of his writings, not just the critically-acclaimed works? (Granted, this is a topic worthy of a more detailed discussion, rather than the inevitable social media kneejerk hysteria.)

Editado: Jun 25, 2015, 5:50pm

>21 kswolff: I agree entirely. For myself, I have been content to read Journey to the End of the Night many times and nothing else; but should I in my coming dotage decide to finally go on a Celine spree, yes, I would like the complete 'works' available.

And while I agree with Iriley in #20, I have Alfau on hold, particularly because before I give that author my time there is Palinuro of Mexico, which seems far more deserving.

Add to the list of some time swine poor old Knut Hamsun. I loved especially Mysteries, but he became a pathetic figure. I'll never forget Henry Miller's chagrin when he wrote to this great author and received a reply laden with yelps of need.

Jun 25, 2015, 6:28pm

#21--seems a fair idea. The biggest hurdle to that though would be finding someone willing to translate those texts and then a publisher willing to print them. Céline was originally translated by an Englishman John H. Marks in the 1930's. He did both Journey and Death on the Installment Plan. Later on both those novels + 3 others by Ralph Manheim who was a very respected person in his field. Those 5 books are pretty much the entire popular stuff that Céline wrote. Marks would be long gone and Manheim died several years ago.

Anyway the Belgian writer Louis Paul Boon has a style and flair very much like Céline's only he was the person very much on the left of the political spectrum.

#22--I found Palinuro of Mexico a real struggle. Hope you like it more than I did. It is a very well regarded book. I've read most of Knut Hamsun. Miller was a big, big fan and Miller was partly why I started reading Hamsun. Jean Giono and Lawrence Durrell were other writers that Miller influenced me into reading. What started me on Céline was though punk rock was my thing I used to really like the Doors--and reading the Morrison bio No one here gets out alive--his biographers went on and on in some length on Morrison's quite extensive reading habits. And Céline like Kerouac, Huxley, Gide, Blake were among the writers that inspired Morrison enough that he wrote a song with them in mind. Kerouac's would be Soul Kitchen--Huxley, Gide and Blake figure into Break on through to the other side and Céline's song is End of the night.

Jun 25, 2015, 9:09pm

>23 lriley: I really liked News from the Empire, although it took me more than a month to read, so I'm aiming for Palinuro of Mexico in the next year or so.

Jun 26, 2015, 2:54pm

#24--It looks like an interesting book--maybe I'll give him another chance.

Jul 18, 2015, 7:58am

23: It seems like there was someone who was willing to translate Bagatelles for a Massacre by Celine. Unfortunately, its getting co-opted by hate groups:


But as someone who has read The Turner Diaries, I think it is important we (humanists, not-fascists) preserve and disseminate these texts, if, for nothing else, the educational value. Celine without the fascism and Anti-Semitism is like learning about Medieval Europe without mentioning religion. Not only is this bad scholarship, it is dangerously incomplete. Better discussions are generated when the "full picture" is available ... at least for those interested.

Jun 29, 2016, 5:13pm

A few hundred pages into The Recognitions which is well worth the extra carry-on weight.

Jun 29, 2016, 5:16pm

I read it, and keep it in the bathroom where it sort of dominates the others on a low book shelf.

Ene 6, 2017, 9:32pm

Started reading Pack of Lies by Gilbert Sorrentino as part of a themed essay series I'm writing. Still muscling through the first chapter. I'm a big Sorrentino fan, having read Mulligan Stew and Aberration of Starlight.

And I got a Dalkey Archive edition of Terra Nostra today. Can't wait to tear into that.