Saturday, July 25, 2020

Table of Contents

AUTHORS INCLUDED (alphabetical listing)

Kathy Acker (USA)
"Grandmother to the Brat Pack" (on Acker's Literal Madness and Florida), by Douglas Messerli

James Agee (USA)
"The Silent Stars Go By" (on James Agee's A Death in the Family), by Douglas Messerli
"Invention Serves Remembrance" (on Agee's A Death in the Family: A Restoration of the Author's Text), by Douglas Messerli

Ilse Aichinger (Austria)
"Things As Not What They Seem" (on Aichinger's The Bound Man) by Douglas Messerli

César Aira (Argentina)
"Appropriations" (on Aira's The Literary Conference) by Douglas Messerli
"The Last Innocent Moment" (on Aira's An Episode in the Live of a Landscape Painter), by Douglas Messerli
"Attending the Dead" (on Aira's Ghosts), by Douglas Messerli
"A Gap in the Wall" (on Aira's How I Became a Nun), by Douglas Messerli
"The Elements of Fiction" (on Aira's The Seamstress and the Wind), by Douglas Messerli

Eliseo Alberto (Cuba/USA)
"Responsible Parties" (on Alberto's Caracol Beach), by Douglas Messerli

Tereza Albues (Brazil/lived USA)
"A Bouquet of Tongues"

João Almino (Brazil)
from The Five Seasons of Love

Jorge Amado (Brazil)
"Julio Jurentio and Ilya Ehrenburg"

Eleanor Antin (USA)
from Conversations with Stalin
"Magnificent Obsessions" (on Antin's An Artist's Life by Eleanora Antinova) by Douglas Messerli
"The Third Act" from An Artist's Life by Eleanora Antinova
Review of Antin's Conversations with Stalin, by J. Hoberman

Reinaldo Arenas (Cuba)
Review of Reinaldo Arenas' The Color of Summer, or, The New Garden of Earthly Delights), by Lee Siegel

Ascher/Straus (USA)
from Hank Forest's Party

John Ashbery and James Schuyler (USA)
"Life in Duluth" (on John Ashbery and his Schuyler's A Nest of Ninnies) by Douglas Messerli

Margaret Atwood (Canada)
Review of Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin by Merle Rubin

Paul Auster (USA)
"Beyond" (on Auster's Oracle Night), by Douglas Messerli

Gerbrand Bakker (Netherlands)
"Being Alone" (on Bakker's The Twin), by Douglas Messerli

Russell Banks (USA)
Review of Russell Banks' The Angel on the Roof by Paul Binding
"Something to Be Touched" (on Banks' Lost Memory of Skin) by Douglas Messerli

Djuna Barnes (USA)
"Abandonment, Involvement, and Surrender" (on Djuna Barnes' Ryder), by Douglas Messerli

Dennis Barone (USA)
"Precise Imprecision" (on Barone's Precise Machine), by Douglas Messerli

Frederick Barthleme (USA)
Review of Frederick Barthelme's The Law of Averages: New and Selected Stories by Will Blythe
"A Thing of Chance" (on Barthelme's There Must Be Some Mistake), by Douglas Messerli

Charles Baxter (USA)
Review of Charles Baxter's The Feast of Love by Joseph Clark

Marcel Béalu (France)
"Walls"

Jurek Becker (Germany)
Review of Becker's Die Boxer, by Klaus Phillips

Samuel Beckett (Ireland/France)
"Moving Forward by Standing Still" (on Mercier and Camier) by Douglas Messerli
Beckett reading from his fiction Watt

Mario Benedetti (Uruguay)
"Holding In, Holding On" (on Benedetti's The Truce) by Douglas Messerli

Thomas Bernhard (Austria)
"Falling Trees" (on Woodcutters) by Douglas Messerli

Mohammed El-Bisatie (Egypt)
"The Voice in the Chest" (on El-Bisatie's Clamor of the Lake), by Douglas Messerli

Bjarni Bjarnason (Iceland)
Review of Bjarnason's Borgin bak við orðin, by Kirsten Wolf

Jens Bjørneboe (Norway)
"Between Fire and Ice" (on Bjørneboe's Powderhouse)

Adolfo Bioy Casares (Argentina)
"On Adolfo Bioy Casares" by Suzanne Jill Levine

Juan Bonilla (Spain)
"The Shrew Mice"

Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina)
"Borges Walker Wessells" (Wendy Walker and Henry Wessells in conversation on Borges)

Elizabeth Bowen (England)
"Caught in the Whirl" (on Bowen's Eva Trout) by Douglas Messerli)

Jane Bowles (USA)
"Prophets of the Ordinary"(on Bowles' Two Serious Ladies) by Douglas Messerli

Lee Breuer (USA)
"Porco Morto"
"Barnyard Philosophers" (on Breuer's Pataphysics Penyeach: Summa Dramatica and Porco Morto), by Douglas Messerli

Christine Brooke-Rose (England)
Review of Brooke-Rose's Next by Brian McHale

Laynie Browe (USA)
from The Ivory Tower

Jeremy P. Busnell (USA)
"Bird Talk"

Olivier Cadiot (France)
"The Perfect Servant" (on Cadiot's Colonel Zoo) by Douglas Messerli

Italo Calvino (Italy)
Bibliography of Fiction
Review of Calvino's The Path to the Spider's Nests by David Ian Paddy

Veza Canetti (Germany)
Review of Veza Canneti's Yellow Street, by Harry Zohn

Finn Carling (Norway)
Review of Finn Carling's Gepardene by Tanya Thresher
Leonora Carrington (b. England / lived Mexico)
"The Surrealist Satires of Leonora Carrington" by Douglas Messerli [link]

Louis-Ferdinand Céline (France)
Archival readings of Louis-FerdinandCéline [link]
Review of Céline's Fable for Another Time, by Brian Evenson

Inger Christensen (Denmark)
"Pictures Resembling Creatures" (on Christensen's Azorno), by Douglas Messerli

Hugo Claus (Belgium/writes in Dutch)
"Rickabone's Fault" (on Claus' Desire and The Swordfish), by Douglas Messerli
"The Scream" (on Claus' Wonder), by Douglas Messerli


Marina Colasanti (b. Eritrea / Brazil (writes in Portuguese)
"The Girl Weaver"

Ivy Compton-Burnett (England)
"The Man Who Would Not Die" (on Compton-Burnett's Manservant and Maidservant) by Douglas Messerli
Short Review of Compton-Burnett's The Present and the Past by Douglas Messerli

Gabrielle Contardi (Italy)
Review of Contardi's Navi di carta, by Francesco Guardiani

Robert Coover (USA)
Review of Robert Coover's Gerald's Party by Geoffrey Green

Julio Cortázar (Argentina)
Review of Julio Cortázar's Final Exam, by Gregory Howard

Domício Coutinho (Brazil/lives USA)
from Duke, the Dog Priest
"To the Dogs" (on Coutinho's Duke, the Dog Priest) by Douglas Messerli

Alexis Curvers (Belgium/writes in French)
Short Review of Alexis Curvers' Tempo di Roma by Douglas Messerli

Guy Davenport (USA)
"Writers from the Diaspora of Truth" (on Davenport's The Jules Verne Steam Balloon) by Douglas Messerli

Lydia Davis (USA)
"The Beginning of the Story" (on a reading by Lydia Davis) by Douglas Messerli

Denyse Delcourt (Canada/writes in French)
Gabrielle of the Spirits (on Delcourt's Gabrielle and the Long Sleep into Mourning), by Douglas Messerli

Miguel Delibes (Spain)
from The Holy Innocents

Don DeLillo (USA)
"Hiding Out" (on DeLillo's The Body Artist) by Douglas Messerli

Nigel Dennis (England)
"Transformations" (on Nigel Dennis' Cards of Identity) by Douglas Messerli
Review of Dennis' Cards of identity, by Jessica Winter

Mohammed Dib (Algeria/France)
"A Quiet Man in the Vast and Chattering Desert" (on several books by Dib) by Douglas Messerli

Isak Dinesen (Denmark)
"Lies in a World of Lies" (on Dinesen's Ehrengard), by Douglas Messerli

Michael Disend (USA)
"Rider of the Jade Horse"

Heimito von Doderer (Austria)
"The Walls Come Tumbling Down" (on von Doderer's Divertimenti and Variations) by Douglas Messerli

Jose Donoso (Chile)
"Bodies That Howl and Insult and Grope" (on Donoso's Hell Has No Limits) by Douglas Messerli

José Maria de Eça de Queirós (Portugal)
"The Dreamer and the Critic" (on Eça de Queirós' Correspondencia de Fradique Mendes) by Douglas Messerli

Jean Echenoz (France)
Review of Jean Echenoz' Big Blonds, by Susan Ireland

Ken Edwards (England)
"Us and Them"

Herbert Eisenreich (Austria)
Review of Eisenreich's Die blaue Disel der Romantik, by Thomas H. Falk

Sam Eisenstein (USA)
Review of Sam Eisenstein's Cosmic Cow and Nudibranchia by Joseph Dewey

Willem Elsschot (Belgium/writes in Dutch)
"Cartoon in the Mirror" (on Elsschot's Will-o'-the-Wisp) by Douglas Messerli

Per Olav Enquist (Sweden)
"The Black Flame: Truth in a World of Lies" (on The Royal Physician's Visit) by Douglas Messerli

Jenny Erpenbeck (b. East Germany/Germany)
"Hunger and Thirst" (on Erpenbeck's The Old Child and Other Stories), by Douglas Messerli
Review of Erpenbeck's Visitation, by Christian House

Brian Evenson (USA)
"The Torn Curtain" (on Evenson's The Open Curtain) by Douglas Messerli

William Faulkner (USA)
"Rereading Faulkner" (on Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury) by Douglas Messerli
"The Dreadful Hollow" (on Faulkner's As I Lay Dying) by Douglas Messerli

Raymond Federman (b. France/USA)
"Reflections on Ways to Improve Death"
Review of Federman's Take It or Leave It and The Twofold Vibration by Matthew Roberson
Returning to the Closet (on Federman's Smiles on Washington Square and The Twofold Vibration) by Douglas Messerli

Ronald Firbank (England)
"Firbank as Poet" (on Firbank's Valmouth), by Douglas Messerli

Daniela Fischerová (Czech Republic)
"The Emperor Is an Emperor Is an Emperor" (on Fischerová Fingers Pointing Somewhere Else) by Douglas Messerli

Thomas Frick (USA)
Review of The Iron Boys by Douglas Messerli

Jean Frémon (France)
from The Botanical Garden
Fremon's Island of the Dead

Serge Gainsbourg (France)
Review of Gainsbourg's Evguénie Sokolov by Perry Friedman

Gao Xingjian (China)
Review of Gao's Soul Mountain by Jonathan Levi

Liliane Giraudon (France)
Review of Liliane Giraudon's Fur by Carolyn Kuebler

Witold Gombrowicz (Poland)
"The Serving Class" (on Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke, Bacacay, and Cosmos) by Douglas Messerli 
Rebecca Goodman (USA)
"Finding Home" (on Goodman's Aftersight) by Douglas Messerli

Jaimy Gordon (USA)
"Horse Sense" (on Gordon's Lord of Misrule) by Douglas Messerli

Juan Goytisolo (b. Spain/lives Morocco)
"Truth-telling in a World of Lies" (on Goytisolo's The Garden of Secrets) by Douglas Messerli

Julien Gracq (France)
Review of Julien Gracq's La forme d'une ville by John Taylor
"The Intrusion" (on Gracq's The Castle of Argol) by Douglas Messerli
"Circling Forward" (on Gracq's The Peninsula) by Douglas Messerli

"How Things Are" (on Gracq's King Cophetua) by Douglas Messerli

Günter Grass (Germany)
Review of Günter Grass' Two Far Afield by Thomas McGonigle
"The Tin[n]y Beat" (on Günter Grass' Die Blechtrommel [The Tin Drum]) by Douglas Messerli

Henry Green (England)
"So and So" (on Green's Party Going) by Douglas Messerli

Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan)
Review of Mohsin Hamid's Moth Smoke by Umber Khairi

Knut Hamsun (Norway)
"Testing His Creations" (on Hamsun's The Women at the Pump), by Douglas Messerli

Peter Handke (Austrial"
"Acting and Perceiving" (on Handke's On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House) by Douglas Messerli

Jeff Harrison (USA)
"Two Tales"

Marianne Hauser (b. Germany[Alsace]/USA)
"A War Against Death" (on the works of Marianne Hauser), by Douglas Messerli
[works discussed include Dark Dominion, The Choir Invisible, Prince Ishmael, A Lesson in Music, The Talking Room, The Memoirs of the Late Mr. Ashley, Me andMy Mom, Shootout with Father, and The Collected Short Fiction]

John Hawkes (USA)
"Life Force" (on Hawkes' The Beetle Leg), by Douglas Messerli

Franz Hellens (Belgium/writes in French)
"Leaving Elsinore" (on Hellens' Memoirs of Elsinore), by Douglas Messerli

Gustaw Herling (Poland)
"Against Common Sense" (on Herling's The Noonday Cemetery), by Douglas Messerli

Sigurd Hoel (Norway)
"The Idiot"

Yoel Hoffmann (b. Romania / Israel)
Review of Yoel Hoffmann's Bernhard, by Allen Hibbard
"The Thing Itself and Not" (on Hoffmann's The Heart Is Katmandu), by Douglas Messerli
Review of Hoffmann's The Shunra and the Schmetterling, by Leslie Cohen

Spencer Holst (USA)
Review of Holst's Brilliant Sentences by Karen Donovan

Alois Hotschnig (Austria)
"Not at Home" (on Alois Hotschnig's Die Kinder beruhigte das nicht), by Douglas Messerli

Roy Jacobsen (Norway)
"The New Window"

Arthur Japin (Netherlands)
Review of Japin's The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi by Michael Pye

James Joyce (Ireland)
Joyce reading from Finnegans Wake

Ismail Kadare (Albania)
Review of Kadare's Elegy for Kosovo by Maria Margaronis
Review of Kadaré's Clair de lune by Robert Elsie

Richard Kalich (USA)
Review of The Assissted Living Living Facility Library by Douglas Messerli
Review of Kalich's Penthouse F by Christopher Leise

Daniel Kehlmann (Germany)
"The Last Innocent Moment" (on Kehlmann's Measuring the World) by Douglas Messerli

Danill Kharms (USSR)
"The King, the Outlaw, and the Blacksmith" 
"First of All and Second of All"

Karl O. Knausgaard (Norway)
"Extinguishing the Fire" (on Knausgaard's A Time for Everything), by Douglas Messerli

Tadeusz Konwicki (Poland)
Review of Konwicki's Bohin Manor, by Brooke K. Horvath

 Dezső Kosztolányi (Hungary)
"The Writer's Other Self" (on Kosztolányi's Kornél Esti) by Douglas Messerli

Laszlo Krasnahorkai (Hungary)
"The Frightened Rabbit Flattens Against the Grass" (on Krasnahorkai's The Melancholy of Resistance), by Douglas Messerli
"To Begin Is to Never End" (on Krasnahorkai's War & War), by Douglas Messerli

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (USSR)
"Forgetting to Notice" (on Krzhizhanovsky's Memories of the Future), by Douglas Messerli

Milan Kundera (Czech Republic)
Review of Milan Kundera's The Farewell Waltz by Paul Maliszewski

Tom La Farge (USA)
"On The noulipian Analects"
"Language Writhing Machines" (on La Farge's 13 Writhing Machines, vols. 1 and 2), by
Douglas Messerli

"Sir Echo" (on La Farge's 13 Writhing Machines, vol. 3), by Douglas Messerli

Anne Gédéon Lafitte, Marqius de Pelleport (France)
"Writer's Nose" (on Lafitte's The Bohemians) by Douglas Messerli

Carment Laforet (Spain)
"Nothing Left Behind" (on Laforet's Nada) by Douglas Messerli

Halldór Laxness (Iceland)
"The Voice of a Country" (on Laxness' The Fish Can Sing) by Douglas Messerli

Harper Lee (USA)
"Re-Righting the Story" (on Lee's Go Set a Watchman) by Douglas Messerli

Stansław Lem (Poland)
Review of Lem's The Investigation, by Tom J. Lewis

Alexander Lernet-Holenia (Austria)
Commentary on Lernet-Holenia's Beide Sizilien by Robert von Dassanowsky

Stacey Levine (USA)
"The Water"
"Frictions of Desperate Serverity" (on Levine's The Girl with Brown Fur) by Douglas Messerli
"Starting Over" (on Levine's Frances Johnson) by Douglas Messerli

Wyndham Lewis (England)
"Murdering to Create" (on Lewis' The Roaring Queen) by Douglas Messerli
José Lezama Lima (Cuba)
Review of José Lezama Lima's Paradiso by David Auerbach

Jonas Lie (Norway)
"How to Destroy Your Children" (On Lie's Niobe) by Douglas Messerli

Eugene Lim (USA)
from Strange Twins

Osman Lins (Brazil)
"Pastoral"
Osman Lin's book Nine, Novena

Øystein Lønn (Norway)
"The Calf in the Sea"

Maria Machado de Assis (Portugal)
"To the Dogs" (on Machado de Assis' Philosopher or Dog?), by Douglas Messerli
Colin MacInnes (England)
Review of  The London Novels by Douglas Messerli [link]

Amin Maalouf (Lebanon)
Review of Amin Maalouf's The Gardens of Light by Jamal En-nehas
John Henry Mckay (b. Scotland / Germany)
"Forbidden Love" (on Mckay's The Hustler)

Thomas Mann (Germany)
"The Will to Happiness"

Javier Marías (Spain)
"Coincidence and Contradiction" (on Javier Marias' When I Was Mortal) by Douglas
Messerli
"The Time That Has Yet to Exist" (on Javier Marias' Dark Back of Time) by Douglas
Messerli

F. T. Marinetti (Italy)
"Metaphorphosis" (on Marinetti's The Untameables), by Douglas Messerli

Carmen Martín Gaite (Spain)
Review of Martín Gaite's Behind the Curtains, by Brooke K. Horvath

Xavier de Maistre (France)
"Parenthetical Digression"

Harry Mathews (USA/lives France)
"Our Wonderful Lives" (on Mathews' My Life in CIA and The Journalist, by Douglas Messerli

David Matlin (USA)
"Moths Will Suck First"

Friederike Mayröcker (Austria)
Review of Friederike Mayröcker's Fast ein Frühling des Markus by M. Goth
Review of Mayröcker's Brütt oder Die seufzenden Gärten, by Susan Cocalis

Cormac McCarthy (USA)
Review of McCarthy's Cities of the Plain by Brian Evenson
"The Ultimate Road Trip" (on Cormac McCarthy's The Road), by Douglas Messerli
William McPherson (USA)
"A Lost America" (on McPherson's Testing the Current) by Douglas Messerli

Douglas Messerli (USA)
Introductory Statement
from Twelve Tyrants Between Acts: Eighty Tiny Tales

Ivo Michiels (Belgium)
"The Cry" (on Michiels' Book Alpha and Orchis Militaris)
Ivo Michiels Book Alfa and Orchis Militaris, Vol. 1 of The Alpha Cycle $5.00

Christopher Middleton (England/lives USA)
"The Weathervane Oiler"
Christopher Middleton's book and ON NET editon of Deptictions of Blaff

"The Dissipating Poem" (on Middleton's Loose Cannons: Selected Prose) by Douglas Messerli
Mo Yan (China)
Review of Mo Yan's The Republic of Wine by Jeffrey C. Kinkley

Félix Morisseau-Leroy (Haiti/writes in Creole)
"Eminans, a story for singing"

Kajii Motojirō (Japan)
"Underneath the Cherry Trees"

Harry Mulisch (Netherlands)
"Voices from the Dead" (on Mulisch's Siegfried), by Douglas Messerli

Murakami Haruki (Japan)
Review of Murakami Haruki's Norwegian Wood by Kim Hjelmgaard
"The Lone Wolf" by Ben Naperstek

Péter Nádas (Hungary)
Review of Nádas' A Book of Memories, by Irving Malin

Martin Nakell (USA)
"Five Works from Stories from the City Beneath the City"
"Everything But Life Itself" (on Nakell's Settlement), by Douglas Messerli

Richard Bruce Nugent (USA)
"Between Heaven and Hell" (on Nugent's Gentleman Jigger), by Douglas Messerli

Joyce Carol Oates (USA)
Review of Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde by Mary Gaitskill

Flannery O'Connor (USA)
"Strange Bird" (on Brad Gooch's Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor and
O'Connor's fictions), by Douglas Messerli


Oë Kenzaburo (Japan)
Community of Thought (on Oë Kenzaburo's A Personal Matter), by Douglas Messerli

Toby Olson (USA)
"Possibilities of Coincidence" (on Olson's Write Letter to Billy and Dorrit in Lesbos), by Douglas Messerli
"Lockup""The Poetics of In and Out" (on Olson's The Bitter Half), by Douglas Messerli
"Talking to the Dead" (on Olson's Tampico), by Douglas Messerli

Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
"The Smell of Death" (on Pamuk's My Name Is Red), by Douglas Messerli

Viktor Pelevin (USSR/Russia)
Review of Pelevin's Buddha's Little Finger by Keith Gessen

Benjamin Péret (France)
"The Four Elements"

Christina Peri Rossi (Uruguay)
"The Calvacade"

Marjorie Perloff (USA)
"Closed Out of Inclusion" (on Perloff's study of Austrian literature, The Edge of Irony)

John Perreault (USA)
"Living Others' Identities" (on Perreault's Hotel Death and Other Tales) by Douglas Messerli

Fernando Pessoa (Portugal)
Review of Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet, by Phillip Landon

Dennis Phillips (USA)
from Hope

Murray Pomerance (Canada)
"A Force of Madness" (on Pomerance's Edith Valmaine) by Douglas Messerli

Antonio José Ponte (Cuba)
"Leaving the Door Open" on Antonio José Ponte's In the Cold of the Malecón and Other Stories), by Douglas Messerli

Jacques Poulin (Canada/writes in French)
"Transport of Love" (on Poulin's Translation Is a Love Affair) by Douglas Messerli

Anthony Powell (England)
"International Relationships" (on Powell's Venusberg) by Douglas Messerli

Richard Powers (USA)
Review of Richard Powers' Plowing the Dark by Charles B. Harris

Reynolds Price (USA)
"An Attack of the Heart" (on Price's The Tongues of Angels), by Douglas Messerli

José Manuel Prieto Gonzalez (Cuba)
Review of Prieto Gonzalez' Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire, by Nicholas Birns

Soledad Puértolas (Spain)
Review of Puértolas' Bordeaux, by Kay Pritchett

James Purdy (USA)
Review of James Purdy's Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue by Brian Evenson

John Rechy (USA)
"Even the Heart Rebels" (on Rechy's City of Night) by Douglas Messerli

Marie Redonnet (France)
"Ist and Irt"

Ishmael Reed (USA)
Brief Commentary on Ishmael Reed's The Free-Lance Pallbearers by Elizabeth MacKienan
Brief Commentary and Selections on and from Reed's Mumbo Jumbo by Dennis Cooper
Review of Reed's Cab Calloway Stands in for the Moon by Michael Boccia


Kathrin Röggla (Austria)
"Attic"

Peter Rosei (Austria)
"The Blur" (on Rosei's Metropolis Vienna), by Douglas Messerli

Gerhard Roth (Austria)
"Two Fragmentary Fictions" (on Roth's The Will to Sickness) by Douglas Messerli

Joseph Roth (Austria)
"Secret Lives" (on Collected Shorter Fiction of Joseph Roth), by Douglas Messerli
"Pomp and Circumstance" (on The Radetzky March), by Douglas Messerli

Philip Roth (USA)
Review of Philip Roth's The Human Stain by Igor Webb

Jess Row (USA)
Review of Row's Your Face in Mine by Douglas Messerli [link]

Helga Ruebsamen (Netherlands)
Review of Helga Ruebsamen's The Song and the Truth by Claire Messud

Aksel Sandemose (Norway)
"The Melancholiacs and the Missing Bucket" (on Sandemose's The Werewolf), by Douglas Messerli

José Saramago (Portugal)
Bibliography of Fictions
Review of Saramago's Blindness, by Philip Landon
"A Vision of Uncertainty" (on Saramago's The Cave), by Douglas Messerli
Review of Saramago's The History of the Siege of Lisbon, by Mary Sarko
Review of Saramago's All the Names by Richard Eder
"Trying to Pass" (on Saramago's The Elephant's Journey), by Douglas Messerli

Alberto Savinio (Italy)
"Attila"

Hans Scherfig (Denmark)
Review of Scherfig's Stolen Spring, by Brooke K. Horvath

Moacyr Scliar (Brazil)
"Another War" (on Scliar's The War in Bom Fin) by Douglas Messerli

Cathleen Schine (USA)
"Doggone" (on Schine's The New Yorkers), by Douglas Messerli

Ingo Schulze (b. DDR/Germany)
Review of Ingo Schulze's Simple Stories by Peter Rollberg

W. C. Sebald (Germany/lived England)
Review of W. G. Sebald's Vertigo by Joyce Hackett
"At Odds" (on Sebald's Vertigo), by Douglas Messerli

Ana Maria Shua (Argentina)
"Four Microfictions"

Eva Sjödin (Sweden)
"Two Fragmentary Fictions" (on Sjödin's Inner China) by Douglas Messerli

Don Skiles (USA)
"The Missing" (on Skiles' Across the Street from the Ordinary) by Douglas Messerli

Josef Skvorecky (Czechloslavakia / now Czech Republic)
Review of Skvonecky's The End of Lieutenant Bouvksa, by Brooke Horvath

Gilbert Sorrentino (USA)
"Writers from the Diaspora of Truth" (on Sorrentino's Rose Theatre), by Douglas Messerli
"The Novel Against Itself" (on Sorrentino's Aberration of Starlight and Mulligan Stew), by Douglas Messerli
"Seeing Red" (on Sorrentino's Red the Fiend), by Douglas Messerli
"Runaway Moon, or The Duchess of Flight" (on Sorrentino's The Moon in Its Flight), by Douglas Messerli

Saša Stanišić (b. Bosnia-Herzegovina/Germany)
"When You Can't Cut Fog" (on Stanišić How the Soldier Repairs the Gramaphone) by Douglas Messerli

Gertrude Stein (USA)
"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Stone" (on Janet Malcolm's Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice), by Douglas Messerli
"Distribution and Equilibration in Stein's Three Lives" by Douglas Messerli
"A Fiction Requiring History and Faith" (on Stein's Mrs. Reynolds) by Douglas Messerli
"Not Real but Really There" (on Stein's Paris France) by Douglas Messerli
"O Brave New World (on Stein's Brewsie and Willie) by Douglas Messerli
"Tender Buttons as Narrative Fiction" by Douglas Messerli
"A Time Gone Mad" (on Stein's Wars I Have Seen) by Douglas Messerli
"Out of Order" (on Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas), by Douglas Messerli

Robert Steiner (USA)
Review of Steiner's Bathers, by Jack Charters

Panos Spiliotopoulos (Greece)
"The Castaway"

August Strindberg (Sweden)
"Selling Out" (on Strindberg's The Red Room), by Douglas Messerli

Antonio Tabucchi (Italy)
Review of Antonio Tabucchi's The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro by Thomas Hove

Inagaki Taruho (Japan)
from One Thousand One-Second Stories

Nivaria Tejera (b. Cuba/Canary Islands)
"Looking Down" (on Tejera's The Ravine), by Douglas Messerli

Jáchym Topol (Czech Republic)
Review of Jáchym Topol's City Sister Silver by Jaroslaw Anders

Esther Tusquets (Spain)
Review of Tusquets' Never to Return, by Brian Evenson

Frederic Tuten (USA)
Review of My Young Life: A Memoir by Douglas Messerli

Jane Unrue (USA)
"A New Way of Seeing" (on Unrue's The House)

John Updike (USA)
"Before the Curtain Rises" (on Updike's Gertrude and Claudius), by Douglas Messerli

Urmuz (Romania)
"Ismail and Turnavitu"
"Algazy and Grummer"


Miklós Vámos (Hungary)
"Fallen Stars" (on Vámos' The Book of the Fathers), by Douglas Messerli

 Luis Fernando Verissimo (Brazil)
"Easting Oneself to Death" (on Verissimo's The Club of Angels) by Douglas Messerli

William T. Vollmann (USA)
Review of Vollmann's Butterfly Stories, by Steven Moore

Antoine Volodine (France)
Review of Volodine's Naming the Jungle, by Jack Byrne

Wendy Walker (USA)
"Art, Writing, and the Untellable: An Interview between Wendy Walker and Douglas Messerli" [link]
"Burning Blue" (on Walker's Blue Fire) by Douglas Messerli
from The City under the Bed
"Sexual Stealing" (on the Gothic Novel)
"Borges Walker Wessells" (Wendy Walker and Henry Wessells in coversation of Jorge Luis
Borges)
"The Forgotten Dream" (on Walker's The Secret Service) by Douglas Messerli


Robert Walser (Switzerland)
Review of Robert Walser's The Robber by Stephen Clair

Mac Wellman (USA)
from Linda Perdido

Eudora Welty (USA)
"Conversations with Nature" (on Welty's The Optimist's Daughter), by Douglas Messerli
"A Solid Wall of Too Much Love " (on Welty's Delta Wedding), by Douglas Messerli
"The Encounter between History and Myth in Welty's The Golden Apples," by Douglas Messerli
"A Battle with Both Sides Using the Same Tactics" (on Welty's Losing Battles), by Douglas Messerli
"When Language Doesn't Mean" (on Welty's The Ponder Heart) by Douglas Messerli

Nathanael West (USA)
"Looking for Love" (on West's Miss Lonelyhearts), by Douglas Messerli

Dallas Wiebe (USA)
Brief Commentary on Dallas Wiebe's Going to the Mountains by Elizabeth MacKiernan

Oscar Wilde (USA)
"The Hidden Self" (on Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray) by Douglas Messerli
John A. Williams (USA)
"A Very Crazy Place" (on Williams' Clifford's Blues) by Douglas Messerli

Virginia Woolf (England)
Woolf's recorded voice

Unica Zürn (Germany)
"A Real Doll" (on Unica Zürn's Dark Spring), by Douglas Messerli

Douglas Messerli | "The Missing" (on Don Skiles' Across the Street fromt he Ordinary)


the missing
by Douglas Messerli

Don Skiles Across the Street from the Ordinary (Claremont, California: Pelekinesis,2020)

A blurb for Don Skiles’ previous collection of short stories suggests that his Rain After Midnight might be “thought of as filmic, as a ‘long story short.’ The shortness of the form works like the compression required in a good poem. …As the French film director Godard said, when a reporter asked him if he thought that a film should have a beginning, middle and end, he answered, ‘Yes. But not necessarily in that order.’”
     I first noticed this interconnection of words, images, and themes through a repetition of a quote by Oscar Wilde. In the very first story of this fascinating collection, “Iron City,” a young college student at Duquesne—not Carnegie Tech or the University of Pittsburgh, but the only one that he might afford to attend—finds even his current funds to be “dwindling,” and seeks out the advice his favorite professor, a history teacher, about his future plans. He thinks, perhaps, the he will join the Air Force or even, as his brother had, the Marine Corps, to which the professor responds: “Join the service! Somebody with the brains you’ve got? Be an enlisted man? Do you have any idea what that means? At all?”
      Later, he falls in love the “beautiful neck” of a girl he sits behind in his psychology class, Mary Ann Filardi, with dark hair, worn long (a great many of the girls in this collection have dark hair that the male figures find attractive). But the minute he finally is able to strike up a conersation with her, the subject turns quickly from music and where it comes from to her important query suggesting where he might be headed in his life.

     ‘You wonder if you’ll live here—in Pittsburgh—for the rest of your
        life?’
     ‘There could be worse things,’ he said, but as soon as he’d said it,
        he knew it wasn’t right. ‘I don’t know—I just feel, what I’m
        looking for, I’m not going to find it here.’
      ‘I understand…’ she said. ‘I feel the same thing, sometimes…”
       ….
       ‘Maybe I’ll go to San Francisco,’ he said, looking down towards
          the city in its haze. ‘You know what they say…”
        ‘No I don’t know what they say,’ Mary Ann said a bit petulantly,
          not like her.
        He sighed. ‘They say—Oscar Wilde said—that it’s a curious thing,
           but everyone who goes missing turns up in San Francisco.’
        She said nothing for a while and he began to feel uneasy. He’d
           overstepped some kind of boundary.
        ‘It’s a long way, San Francisco. A long way away.”

That’s the last we see of Mary Ann, and the young would-be scholar for that matter. All we know is that his desire to leave her world has cut off any relationship they might possibly have had.
     The same quote appears again in one of the stories central to Skiles’ work, “All Along the Watchtower.” The hero of this story, who has apparently been in the Air Force for 4 years, lives in Illinois where he is now teaching at a university. This version of our hero, who has even traveled to San Francisco, is now stuck in the arctic cold of Illinois, dating a girl with the midwestern name of Judy Jones, a woman who everyone finds to be stunningly beautiful and about whom he has developed an almost jealous love, a love endangered by his own fears that he will lose her, eventually, to someone else. Yet, after the two attend a Jimi Hendrix concert in Chicago, he soon after realizes that the reason he will lose her is his own inability, despite a symbolic jump over a stick in the moonlight (a tradition of marriage that goes by to the black slaves), stems from his own lack of commitment, a sudden realization that forces him to perceive “I would never marry her, despite our October ceremony in the woods. I would leave her.”
     Driving home from her Elmhurst family house, he feels sick with the sorrow of losing her, as his mind reels out the spaces between where he now is and nearby states, the Great Plains, and finally the West. “If I kept going long enough, if I could keep going long enough, I would wind up in San Francisco, the city Oscar Wilde said everyone reported missing eventually turned up. Staring into the receding darkness in front of the headlights’ beams, that is always curling out in front of you, beckoning. Come on with me.”
      If one may suspect that the connection of Wilde and San Francisco is hinting of this 27-year old and the young figure in the first story may be gay, the author certainly never confirms it. The figures of these stories are mainly heterosexuals: students, airman, writers (both living and dead) professors, and traveling strangers who all try to make a difference from the past in living their lives.
      Yet, with the exception of one figure (a Haruki Murakami-obsessed writer of “Ghost Ball”) is married, while almost all of the characters of Skiles’ stories, male and female, are people who suddenly disappear from other peoples’ lives.  
       In one story (“An Occurrence on 19th Street) a young man driving through a wealthy neighborhood of what appears to be San Francisco, encounters a girl holding a sign reading “Reject Capitalist Lies,” so attracting the male driver that he stops at a nearby Starbucks, hoping to spot her yet again. He quickly realizes how ridiculous it is that he might run into her in such a truly capitalist-based establishment, but does, after a while, observe her in the crowd just before she leaves the coffee-house. For a moment he thinks of running after her, but can imagine nothing which he might properly say (“Forget it. She might see me as another street weirdo, or an FBI informant”) and he simply walks back to his parked car.
      Another longer tale, “Skegness Annie,” concerns a slightly long-in-the-tooth English girl who regularly attends the dances at the airbase in Fen county, 20 miles from Cambridge. She is no beauty, and has been to these dances for so many years that the airmen joke about her. But when she suddenly disappears the narrator laments “Annie vanished, with a sort of fame of her own. She wasn’t an English rose, but… From time to time, somebody would say they’d seen her (or heard that she’d been seen)—in Cambridge, in Ely, in Peterborough.”
      Similarly, my very favorite story in this collection (“A Short History of Elizabethan Drama”) centers on a young 28-year old Shakespeare teacher, still a graduate student, who mesmerizes and delights his 49-some students, particularly the young hero attending his class who begins to read all of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets late into the night. No one misses this lecturer’s 1:00 classes, even on Fridays. Yet the central character’s friend believes the teacher, Stevens, won’t last because “There’s something wrong with the guy, essentially wrong. ,,,He just doesn’t fit.”
       The narrator can’t imagine what could be wrong with a man who not only brilliantly teaches the Bard but also encourages his students to see films by Bergman and Fellini. “And then, he was gone…Stevens was gone. The news spread on the campus like the proverbial wildfire. I was sitting in the cafeteria, my hands cradling a large cup of steaming coffee, eating a donut, when I heard another student at the table say it. “Did a bunk… teaches the Shakespeare class, that one?’ As with Skegness Annie, theories of his whereabouts and the reasons for his leaving become the stuff of rumor.
     At another point, a narrator goes down the list of his former air buddies, leaving us with only slight bit and pieces of their lives, now missing from his own—except for one, Harmon, whom he suddenly encounters one night in San Francisco on a streetcar before himself suddenly running off. The name Harmon reappears in other stories as well.
      The redwood bar of The Odyssey in Palo Alto is transmogrified into “a long, high beautifully polished wooden bar running nearly the length of the wide room” in a Madrid bar. And the Bridgeway of Sausalito becomes the famed Malecón of Havana. The landscapes of these stories are punctuated by Pre-Raphaelite girls and men smoking Tareyton cigarettes.
      Skiles uses these dozens of connecting links, quotations, images, names, smells, etc. as a kind of echo chamber of the memory to fill up all the missing persons who accumulate in the street just across from the ordinary, where, presumably, people stay put both in body and mind.
     Nearly all the figures of this author’s lovely tales just don’t fit it, and have no choice but to leave the stolid realities created by the so-called “real” worlds nearby. If these missing men and women are not truly “gay,” they are, nonetheless, when compared with what is happening across the street or just around the corner, queer, misplaced, and odd.in their passions and desires. Even the wife knows how difficult it is to be married to a writer, refusing to even read about the magical realist world created by Gabriel García Márquez.

Los Angeles, July 25, 2020
Reprinted from EXPLORINGfinctions (July 2020).