Articles by Matt Seidel
July 23, 2014
How would fictional professors, heroes of those quaint works known as campus novels, fare in the world of online education?
July 10, 2014
In honor of the Tour de France, taking to the couch with Tim Krabbé’s sports classic.
June 18, 2014
While the following three piano-themed books — Alan Rusbridger’s Play it Again, Thomas Bernhard’s The Loser, and Murray Bail’s extraordinary The Voyage — are all inexplicably devoid of sniper rifles, they do present slightly more nuanced takes on perfection and its discontents.
May 21, 2014
“Who would not sing for Lycidas?” asks Milton in his famous elegy. And who, indeed, would not sing for the Novel, which has once again been declared dead?
May 20, 2014
“But do you think it’s a good way of training oneself — inventing imaginary news?” “None better.”
May 9, 2014
While professional duty compels me to deliver judgment on the work at hand, I cannot in good conscience reveal the title, author or any identifying details about its plot for fear that some perverse soul might be tempted to go out and buy it.
April 25, 2014
I had been casting about for the perfect title when I saw Susan Bernofsky’s new translation of The Metamorphosis at an airport bookstore, the beautiful cover submitting the title letters to the same transformative process as the book’s protagonist undergoes. This, I decided, would be my companion text as I semi-reclined on a plane, lay in bed, sat in a café, strolled upright in a park, and bellied up to a bar.
April 18, 2014
This might not be the thing one wants to hear before embarking on a 1,500 page quest, but the trilogy is marked by a narrative desultoriness that applies to both its human and political dramas. The novels are in a some ways about widespread distraction and inaction in the face of an impending catastrophe.
March 18, 2014
Owing to the vagaries of evolution and animal husbandry, there are lactose intolerant novelists (Dostoyevsky) and those blessed few for whom a latte does not ruin an afternoon (Marguerite Duras).
March 11, 2014
I wondered about the first professional decisions of newly minted editors — be they powerful tastemakers blissfully ignorant of P-and-L statements or recently promoted assistants. What drew them to the first proposal they tried to acquire? Did they look upon the decision as a momentous one? Do they even remember it now?