Now I know where this title came from.

March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Moving, books not yet in place

March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

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“Just as Anderson asks us for whom Rizal imagined he was writing,

March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

so the agony of every writer is: for whom do we imagine we write? The monolithic implication of the question is misleading, as if “audience” must be a singular unity. As if we are not a country and a world of irredeemable multiplicity. Filipinos laugh at people who do not use “perfect English” — just as Americans in classrooms are often bothered by people who say “ax” instead of “ask” — but few Filipinos are concerned about their lack of interest in Cebuano, in the same way whites are unconcerned about their inability to spell an African-American person’s name.”

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Thoughts on Rizal and Ben Anderson in LA Review of Books

March 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

My essay, written a while ago but just oddly rediscovered by me (so embarrassing, really, since I promised Ben a long time ago I would do this review, then I did, then I forgot I had done it!). But the wonderful Los Angeles Review of Books published this updated version:

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West 12th Street

March 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Philip Roth on how to read a novel: “The thought of the novelist that matters most is the thought that makes him a novelist.”

March 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

“Whoever looks for the writer’s thinking in the words and thoughts of his characters is looking in the wrong direction. Seeking out a writer’s “thoughts” violates the richness of the mixture that is the very hallmark of the novel. The thought of the novelist that matters most is the thought that makes him a novelist.

The thought of the novelist lies not in the remarks of his characters or even in their introspection but in the plight he has invented for his characters, in the juxtaposition of those characters and in the lifelike ramifications of the ensemble they make — their density, their substantiality, their lived existence actualized in all its nuanced particulars, is in fact his thought metabolized.

The thought of the writer lies in his choice of an aspect of reality previously unexamined in the way that he conducts an examination. The thought of the writer is embedded everywhere in the course of the novel’s action. The thought of the writer is figured invisibly in the elaborate pattern — in the newly emerging constellation of imagined things — that is the architecture of the book: what Aristotle called simply “the arrangement of the parts,” the “matter of size and order.” The thought of the novel is embodied in the moral focus of the novel. The tool with which the novelist thinks is the scrupulosity of his style. Here, in all this, lies whatever magnitude his thought may have.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/books/review/my-life-as-a-writer.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=BO_MLA_20140302

Greenwich Village: Mark Twain and a bookstore

February 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

Found Mark Twain’s house on 14 West Tenth Street. [he's creeping into the novel] Then at what is now my favorite bookstore, Three Lives & Co., I saw this great bookshelf. Right next to If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Had to take a picture.ImageImageImage

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