Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Salon

The Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone. I regret to inform you that, alas, I have lost my book. Quim Monzó's Gasoline has been missing since Friday and I've looked all over the place. I can only conclude that I left it somewhere at work, as I sometimes read during my lunch breaks. Luckily, Gasoline is not coming out until June (it's an ARC) so I have plenty of time to get it read and reviewed.

It was just starting to get good too. After pages and pages of the protagonist wandering aimlessly and doing nothing, the final forty pages were finally exhibiting something resembling a point. I don't demand a concrete plot, but I still insist that a novel have a reason for existing beyond the need to follow a burned-out artist as he drifts from place to place because he can't think of what to paint.

In the interim, I've started another Open Letter Press offering, Macedonio Fernández's The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel). Fernández (1874-1952), an Argentinian avant-gardist, was Jorge Borges's mentor. Now I've never been able to get into Borges - like Kafka, he's one of those writers whom I expected to love but ended up falling flat - but some fifty pages into The Museum of Eterna's Novel, I'm starting to get a feel for Fernández. He is, as translator Margaret Schwartz warned, difficult and very "baroque," and I don't even know what he's talking about some of the time, but he is strangely compelling.

Like Louis Aragon, Fernández purports to write a novel that will break the rules of the novel. Like Aragon, he often very dense. But will he do better than Aragon (who I did kind of like)? That remains to be seen.

How's your Sunday going? Lost any books too? Caitlin proposes that books which go missing are books not meant to be read at the moment. That does not bode well for Mr. Monzó.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I lost a book recently at home, so I haven't even the excuse you have of a different location! :--) It's very frustrating! I'm sorry about your missing Monzo, but the book you picked up instead sounds fascinating!

Gavin said...

Isn't it strange how somethings just disappear, as if they fell into another dimension? I can't wait to read what you think of the Open Letter Press books. Have a great week!

Frances said...

Perhaps it isn't really lost but just hiding out at work for the weekend? A coy attempt to make you want it more? Books can be funny like that.

Envy you that copy of The Museum of Eterna's Novel.

Have a similar though brief relationship with Borges that is as you describe your own. But that was a while back. Thinking I might need a re-do.

E. L. Fay said...

Rhapsody: Actually, I have three prospective locations: home, work, and car.

Gavin: You should be hearing about The Museum of Eterna shortly. I got through 100 pages today!

Frances: Glad to see I'm not alone. I actually studied Borges in college and still didn't get him, so he must be a lost cause for me.

Anonymous said...

I haven't lost any books, but I did find one that has been hiding for the past 7 months in a piece of luggage.

And I'm pretty sure the rest of my books are multiplying when I'm not home.

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