March 08, 2005



Where can one locate MOTEV, I mean in the blogosphere? (please read this question with a Slavic/New Jersey accent). Not that I don't enjoyt your site, TEV. It's just that MOTEV has all those years of experience (and observation of you), to speak of.

Jimmy Beck

Well, I disagree with MOTEV as to the merits of Enduring Love, but I respect her critical judgment and honesty. How about interviewing your alleged father?


I heart MOTEV. Totally ON about Enduring Love. Blaahahah. Unfortunately I didn't stop reading it until the end. I gagged down every word. I wish I had known MOTEV back then. Can we have more of her????


She's awesome! I see a cult following in the future.


"Alleged father" = inside joke or allusion to Oskar Matzerath/Bronski, protagonist of Gunther Grass' "The Tin Drum"?


That was just great.

I'm now filled with the desire to talk about books in a Viennese accent and utter "Mondvacsinalt!" at every given opportunity.


I guess you can feel lucky she didn't rag on Banville.


Well, I'm a bigfan of Ian McEwan's, but your mother made me laugh out loud -- always a good start for the day.

John Shannon

Finallly, somebody who will say McEwan is a pain in the ass, and becoming increasingly so. I could translate mondvacsinait, but it would be wrong.


I so ♥ the MOTEV.
And tossed Atonement across the room about halfway through.


how about a half-assed attempt at defining "Mondvacsinalt"?


More, please! :)


I love MOTEV! "Transit of Venus--now that to me is writing." More, please. More on big cheeses and the word coming from within, not just from the typewriter. And more often.


Your mama is a charmer. But, man, I'm dying of curiosity about "alleged" father. Like, does she call him that when she's mad at him? Or is it a long-standing, hardly-even-noticed-anymore reference to an alternate supplier of the DNA?


She sounds like a great woman and is an excellent judge of literature too. Charmante. I doubt very much my kids will ever print my conversations - obviously MOTEV doesn't crave notoriety as much as some of the rest of us!


Love your ma. I thought I was the only who hated Atonement. Can MOTEV write a "Favorite Book" list?Please provide phonetic pronunciation of "Mondvacsinalt!"


I love McEwan, and I agree that, after a magnificent beginning, Enduring Love, fails to deliver. Has anyone attempted Saturday yet?

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."