Lit Lit

Existential Fiction New York City Spoken Word
1. Mark Sarvas and his readers have proposed a whole bunch of new types of "lit" (shtick lit, hick lit, quick lit). I'd like to turn the tables and suggest one that's clearly in the air today: "Lit lit". These are books about characters obsessed with literature (see Possession by A. S. Byatt). Note that both Mark Sarvas's upcoming Harry, Revised and Keith Gessen's upcoming All the Sad Young Literary Men feature images of books on their covers (a Penguin Classic for Sarvas, a Moleskine for Gessen).

2. I'll be dropping by the Bowery Poetry Club for a quick poetry happy hour tonight at 6:30. The last time I read there, a bongo player was promised but never arrived, but tonight I am assured there will be bongos. Please come by if you can!

3. Via Quick Study, here's some alleged filmed footage of a late-in-life Friedrich Nietzsche staring into space from a hospital bed. There is some question as to whether or not this moving image is fake, but it does not appear fake to me. Nietzsche certainly does project a powerful presence in this film fragment, and that's a hell of a mustache.

4. Via Bill Ectric, Mystery Island presents an interview with Linda Lee Bukowski!

5. This brief Onion news item is strangely good, and reminds me of J. D. Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish".
1 Response to "Lit Lit"

by Cal Godot on

I've read both the Sarvas and Gessen novels in galley.

Harry, Revised was good - funny, well-written, engaging characters. Harry is a lively anti-hero, obsessed with a young waitress and in deep denial about his recently dead wife. It's the comedy of misfortune as wealthy doctor Harry attempts to fix his life with the help of Alexander Dumas and a motley crew of working-class folk.

Gessen's work didn't sit well with me. His prose is serviceable, but his characters didn't come to life for me. A very dull, flat bunch of the kind of annoying "literary people" who sometimes inspire me to engage in a life of illiteracy. I'm certain this was the point of it, but I found myself feeling that hoary old reader complaint of, "I didn't identify with any of the characters." (Though since they are annoying lit-geeks, perhaps I identified too closely. Hmmm....) And it's too bad, too, because he's a damn nice guy who does fine work.