The weekend is upon us and not a moment too soon! Lots of goodies planned for next week, including reviews of Bobby Fischer Goes to War and Mortification, as well as the start of my look at small presses. A few secret goodies coming this way, as well, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, we note that the new TLS is online. (It's absolutely maddening to me that I can read these articles online a full two to three weeks before the thing shows up in my mailbox!) While most folks will no doubt click directly to the Mark Twain cover story, our interest is drawn to this review of the latest by Hungarian novelist Peter Esterházy.
Esterházy has championed an insistently ludic style, mingling literary quotations, flights of authorial fantasy, autobiography and corrupted genre-writing. The aphoristic anecdote is his favoured mode, a debased form, he suggests, the humble opposite of the epic: “An anecdote is a historical joke”, he writes, in Kis Magyar Pornográfia (1984; A Little Hungarian Pornography), adding: “I was in need of an inordinate amount of profound, celestial gaiety, because I can scale the highest peaks of pathos only if it is a game”. For Esterházy, humour is a “minor chord”, set against the “major chord of battles and political skirmishes”.