Articles by Lydia Kiesling

October 6, 2014

Modern Library Revue: #43 Dance to the Music of Time 2

Instead of Mary or Jesus or anybody, I suddenly thought only of Anthony Powell, whose beautiful Dance to the Music of Time I was then rereading, and felt an overwhelmingly sense that this is really all we get–that if everything else is taken away, the beauty of someone’s vision of the world is our meager but abiding solace for being in the world.

September 3, 2014

Back from the Land: The Millions Interviews Donald Antrim 5

My ambition is to disappear entirely, as much as I can, from a reader’s awareness.

May 27, 2014

Modern Library Revue: #38 Howards End 3

Just before Forster’s novel I read Austerlitz, a book whose construction around a portentous negative space has the effect of drawing neighboring books into its central darkness, like a dying star. Everything becomes tinged with this darkness.

April 25, 2014

Darren’s Ark: On Noah 0

On the second day, I attended a Seder, with 14 pounds of beef brisket. On the fifth day, I saw Noah, with Russell Crowe looking like 14 pounds of brisket in a distressed denim bag.

March 31, 2014

Modern Library Revue: #19 Invisible Man 3

In America it is the privilege of the white man to rollick, even if he is a poor Jew born into moderate squalor. The black man, in this novel at any rate, can only be fucked around; his hope, in this novel, is to discover his own way of doing things.

March 5, 2014

Hot Beats and High Genre: Submergence by J.M. Ledgard 1

High genre is fiction that allows you to investigate an individual text, because it is full of its own traits and merits, whether in its characterizations, its plot, or its prose. Regular genre, I suppose, is something you can only talk about as a family — tracing the themes shared collectively among its members. High genre will always be vulnerable to the taint of its lower peers, because it shares the equipment, the same beats. This is why people are drawn to True Detective, and yet can accept assertions that it is just another dead naked lady show.

January 24, 2014

World History and Family Dinner: On Rachel Laudan’s Cuisine and Empire 9

I’m a known pig, but over the course of my 20s I have been successfully indoctrinated against certain kinds of fast food and most grocery items that come in packages, which leads to confused, contradictory, and offensive positions on things. I won’t eat a Keebler Snack Cake, but I will eat an entire salami. I spurn the Olive Garden, but regularly eat a calorie-laden burrito filled with God knows what. I see fellow bus-riders with translucent McDonald’s bags to be fed to young children and feel sad, disregarding my past encounters with the Quarter Pounder and the Whopper.

December 7, 2013

A Year in Reading: Lydia Kiesling 6

When I wasn’t reading a bunch of depressing shit, I read some strange and wonderful things.

November 5, 2013

Modern Library Revue: #26 The Wings of the Dove 16

Let’s say that my previous efforts with this book were equivalent to the disappointing herbal cigarette from a store called Groovy Vibes, or a bag of mulch obtained at the concert from someone’s questionable cousin. But this time I got, so to speak, the good shit. You eat the Henry James mushrooms, you look upon his dense thicket of sentences, his plodding parade of commas, and suddenly the text, and the entire world, come into insane focus.

October 9, 2013

A Little Bit Beta: On Dave Eggers’s The Circle 15

The Circle occupies an awkward place of satire and self-importance.