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by Italo Calvino
Jimmy, I hear you plead, you’re the bard of the beachfront, the Wordsworth of the waves. You once released an album called License to Chill; you write songs about delicious cheeseburgers. Why kick things off with a harrowing, full-bore descent into the savage, blood-spattered heart of our long-dead modern dream?
Wallace’s complex mind and neurotic tendencies found their most successful (i.e. accessible and popular) outlet in nonfiction, and that although history may remember his novels and stories as his most important contributions to literature, his nonfiction is more successful in doing what he aimed to do with literature and more representative of who he was as a person and a writer.
Cosmicomics is that rarity among progressive texts: its premises are absurd and almost incoherent, yet the plot lines are filled with romance, drama, and conflicts that draw the readers deeper and deeper into the text.
Of the lesser-known Oulipo members, the works of Jacques Roubaud should not be missed. His Mathematics, just published this year, is a great introduction to this writer who marries Oulipo, Proust, and mathematics (it’s a strange marriage).
I wanted to dislike this book. The point is that I went into this book hating it. I was proven so, so wrong.
The deckle edge dates back to a time when you used to need a knife to read a book. Those rough edges simulate the look of pages that have been sliced open by the reader.