Purloined Letters: Gustavo Faveron Patriau’s “The Antiquarian.”

Even if it weren’t all over the novel’s jacket, it would only take a few pages to identify Gustavo Faveron Patriau as having soaked up the works of Roberto Bolaño and Jorge Luis Borges. His debut novel, The Antiquarian, is overflowing with the kind of obsessiveness, literary portents, gothic tropes, and book-fueled intrigue that made […]

Writers’ daily routines.

Brain Pickings, always a fantastic site, has developed a nice collection of various writers’ routines. I find DeLillo’s evocation of a desk portrait of Borges the most interesting: To break the spell I look at a photograph of Borges, a great picture sent to me by the Irish writer Colm Tóín. The face of Borges […]

Borges on Boswell and Dr. Johnson

If there was link bait for me, this would be it. Jorge Luis Borges on Samuel Johnson (two of my favorite writers of all time) and Boswell. Perhaps Boswell simply felt it as an aesthetic necessity that to better showcase Johnson, there should be a very different character alongside him. Something like in the novels of Conan […]

Built Out of Loneliness: Paul Murray’s “Skippy Dies”

About halfway through Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies, one of the schoolboy characters, Ruprecht, reconsiders the intracacies of his beloved String Theory: Our universe, one could almost say, is actually built out of loneliness; and that foundational loneliness persists upwards to haunt every one of its residents. The loneliness, Ruprecht believes (at least at this particular […]