Thursday, October 23, 2008


Meet at the Gate [website defunct] – an untypical publisher's website, it says, for Canongate Books (publishers of Glavinic's Night Work) – makes some blog or other its site of the week.

The above novel deserves to be considered for a prize, but which one? Lee Rourke at 3AM Magazine goes in for some Post Booker Blues and looks at two potential alternatives to our annual suffering.

In the New Statesman, Andrew O'Hagan suggests Virginia Woolf, had she been writing now, would not have won the Man Booker Prize for To the Lighthouse (1927). Nor would she have won an Olympic swimming medal fourteen years later ... for the same reason.

John Self reviews the belated English edition of Gert Hofmann's great novel Lichtenberg and the Little Flower Girl published by CB Editions. I've been going on about this novel for three years so it's good to see a snowball forming. (An English equivalent to New Directions is a pleasant daydream).

Welcome back to Mobylives. It's been a while. Call me patient. In related news, Love German Books posts an interview with Ross Benjamin, translator of Kevin Vennemann's Close to Jedenew, a novella published by Melville House Books.

Mark Thomas has written a book about Coca Cola: Belching Out the Devil. I've not seen it reviewed elsewhere. I wonder why.

Finally, K-Punk offers French philosopher Alain Badiou's views on the credit crunch stroke financial crisis. I'm not sure how to pronounce his name but, with this article in mind, I shall now think of him as Alain Badloan.


  1. Anonymous10:18 pm

    Yes, a disappointing lack of coverage for Thomas's book. I had a ferret (hoping to be proved wrong) and eventually uncovered one review, from the Thunderer. Positive though.

    Nice piece by Canongate. I think they get it wrong though re the look of your site, implying absence of design where I consider it to have exemplary design - particularly the large, clear font, which I wish I could replicate for my own.

    - John Self (having trouble getting my ID recognised in this new Blogger comment box)

  2. Oh well, that Times review - the existence of it - is good. I suspected my ignorance of the book's existence was because of its subject matter. I doubt that we'll see many more reviews of Lichtenberg. It doesn't fit the book pages' war-serious caricature of German literature. His other novels are generally darker. I wish I could write about them.

    The site design is a standard blogger template, nothing to do with me. I went for it precisely because of the text size. Georgia is my favourite font too.

    Apologies for the new comment ID thing. I really don't like getting comments labelled Anonymous so decided to disallow them. I hope Adam Nonymous isn't weeping into his beer as a result.

  3. Anonymous10:47 pm

    "It doesn't fit the book pages' war-serious caricature of German literature."

    No, nor their lack of interest in titles which aren't glossy hardbacks published by one of the big houses and written by some pouting young lovely. (Apologies to Michael Hofmann if his father was in fact both pouting and lovely.) I'll be trying Luck and The Film Explainer at the very least.

    My ID seems to have come through OK up above, so worries resolved there. Phew.

  4. John, did you know Michael Hofmann's book Acrimony features a number of poems about his father? There are descriptions of his writing habits - getting up at four AM everyday to work, typing on a machine covered in glue and tippex, writing with the radio at full blast. His writing he calls "dialogue by other means". I'd copy it out if I could find the book.

  5. Anonymous7:35 am

    Yes I did Stephen, though I've never read any of Hofmann's poems. I keep meaning to order his Selected which was published earlier this year, but have been waiting in vain for it to turn up in my local bookshop. Hope springs eternal.

  6. Anonymous2:01 pm

    I've done a Mark Thomas review if you're interested, Stephen

  7. Very related to Coca Cola & Belching Out the Devil, I thought this a touch of genius by Jimmy Cauty of KLF fame; no stranger to artistic guerilla warfare.

  8. On the contrary, we approve of the design because it's stripped of superfluous fanciness!



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