Articles by Mark O'Connell

November 17, 2011

The Truth About ‘The Truth About Marie’ 0

There’s a lesson in this that might be too awful for us to want to learn, which is that death takes from us not just our lives, but also our right to insist upon a particular version of those lives.

October 20, 2011

Not Foster Wallace 0

It was, in retrospect, only a matter of time until someone spotted the gap in the market and set up a blog dedicated exclusively to images of guys who sort of look like (but crucially are not) David Foster Wallace. A tip of the bandana to Matt Bucher for highlighting this via Twitter.

October 10, 2011

Bad Bookshops: An Appreciation 12

As great as it is to be able to choose whatever you want on Amazon, sometimes what you really want is to have no choice at all.

October 5, 2011

Weird, Wild West: Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers 6

The territory he takes us through is bleak and nightmarish, teeming with malice and greed, with violent lusts and blank antipathies.

September 26, 2011

Appearing Elsewhere 0

My “10 Best Songs Based on Books” list, from yesterday’s Observer (UK), is up on the Guardian’s website. Obviously it’s not so much the 10 Best as the 10 Best I could think of while writing the list, but that kind of equivocation makes for terribly unsnappy titles.

September 20, 2011

Staff Pick: Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau 2

By the end of the first page, you have learned everything you are ever going to know about the events on which the book focuses. What Queneau does do, however, is re-narrate this same scenario a further 98 times, in a series of distinct styles.

September 7, 2011

Appearing Elsewhere 1

A few days ago, Amazon announced the launch of their new “@Author” feature for the Kindle, whereby readers can click on an e-book passage and ask the author questions about it directly. I’ve broken out in a cold poststructuralist sweat about this over on The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog.

September 1, 2011

It’s All For Keeps: David Vann on Truth, Fiction, and How We Find Out Who We Are 4

“I do have the same sense about my real life that I have about my fiction, which is that I make all these decisions but I have no idea why I’m doing what I’m doing. That life is essentially shaped by the unconscious in the same way that fiction is.”

August 15, 2011

The E-Reader of Sand: The Kindle and the Inner Conflict Between Consumer and Booklover 60

It occurred to me that Borges would have been thrilled and horrified in equal measure by the Kindle. In fact, in a weird way, he sort of invented it.

August 3, 2011

Why Do We Care About Literary Awards? 15

Getting worked up about the fact that really interesting, innovative fiction so often gets ignored by awards judges is, when you think about it, a little bit absurd.