Charles Shields, And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, 2011
In an odd, misguided, and immensely frustrating biography of Kurt Vonnegut, Shields seems to forget that Vonnegut was, foremost, a literary artist, not a Park Avenue celebrity or target of speculative gossip. I may gather my thoughts into a coherent essay of this promising and ultimately disappointing piece.
"The Sandman" by Salvador Dali.
Here’s to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died today. He was a grand master of magical realism, a lion of Latin American letters, and an extraordinary modern myth-maker. He could retell the history of the world in an instant and stretch the lives of his characters out to infinity.
Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch, 2013
art and beauty’s inflection of reality — Tartt is both Platonic and Nietzschean
A jazz trio, The Bad Plus, plays the score to Igor Stravinsky’s gloriously noisy, 101-year-old fever dream of a ballet as literally as possible — and still manages to sound like itself.
Stream The Rite of Spring from NPR Music’s First Listen.
Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers, 2013
art is modes of belonging
Olive Trees at Collioure by Henri Matisse (1905)
"You realize that anything you have to say is going to annoy some stranger, so you might as well speak your mind." Teju Cole in Teju Cole: By the Book - NYTimes.com
I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility.
I’m in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise with the falling and rising bodies. This is I, the machine, manoeuvring in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations.
Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I coordinate any and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be. My way leads to the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the world unknown to you.”
– Dziga Vertov, 1923 (via palethrough)
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
The #VonnegutSummer may be over, but The Vonnegut Review is alive and well. We’ve just penned a review of Robert Tally’s marvelous new theoretical take on Vonnegut. Here’s a snippet:
Vonnegut’s “telegraphic schizophrenic novel,” then, offers a resolute defense of the human even as it deconstructs the notion of the self. What Vonnegut returns to, in his exploration of eternal recurrence and Tralfamadorian ethics, is what Nietzsche refers to as amor fati, or the love of fate. Amidst the terror of history and the trauma of war, Vonnegut, yearning to recover a lost wholeness, shores up the ruins of modernity in the fragments of narrative.
Click here to read the whole review at The Los Angeles Review of Books.
Be sure to follow The Vonnegut Review on twitter here.
“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”
– Cormac McCarthy, The Road (via vintageanchorbooks)