John Pistelli


How the Novel Succeeded and How You Can Too

[I post this at Tumblr yesterday in response to an anonymous questioner using that platform’s “ask” feature. I am posting it here because this is generally where I keep longer … Continue reading

27 September 2015 · Leave a comment

Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy My rating: 5 of 5 stars Blood Meridian describes a murderous spree undertaken in Mexico in 1849 by John Joel Glanton and his crew of … Continue reading

23 September 2015 · Leave a comment

Three Conflicted Notes on “Against Lolita

Roxana Robinson has drawn the bill of indictment against Nabokov’s classic. Her charge, in sum, is that the novel is merely a dispossessed aristocrat’s howl of rage against the philistine … Continue reading

21 September 2015 · Leave a comment

Jonathan Franzen, Purity

Purity by Jonathan Franzen My rating: 5 of 5 stars Freedom was not as good as the critics said it was. What Nicholas Dames writes of Purity is in fact far truer … Continue reading

9 September 2015 · 4 Comments

Wittgensteinian Investigations

David Auerbach on why you should take a Wittgenstein class: Wittgenstein’s philosophy also accounts for the disastrous state of Internet discourse today. The shift to online communication, textual interactions separated … Continue reading

4 September 2015 · Leave a comment

Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami My rating: 3 of 5 stars Murakami is a polarizing figure; I like polarizing figures, because the lack of consensus about their merits … Continue reading

2 September 2015 · Leave a comment

Franzen and His Enemies

[I wrote this almost two years ago, in September of 2013, and posted it to Tumblr in response to the waves of Franzenfreude then breaking over the Internet, occasioned by … Continue reading

30 August 2015 · Leave a comment

Don’ts for Journals, Editors, and Agents

No doubt due to the creeping horrors of the slush pile—agrammatical erotica, all-caps conspiracy theories, and suchlike—every journal, editor, and agent in the literary land has published a list of … Continue reading

23 August 2015 · Leave a comment

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky My rating: 5 of 5 stars A very, very strange novel. In her review of David McDuff’s 2004 translation of The Idiot (I myself read … Continue reading

22 August 2015 · Leave a comment

Sigrid Nunez, Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag

Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag by Sigrid Nunez My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ll admit to a prurient interest in Sontagiana. I’ve always liked Sontag—well, always is … Continue reading

16 August 2015 · Leave a comment

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