March 16, 2010



Why would there be a punch line? Glenn Close is exceptionally talented and bright.

Rob Crompton

So is John Banville. Must look out for this one - it should be very good.


So it's the shamrock version of Yentl? Goy gevalt!


Let's hear it for collaborations like this!
Sort of like 50 Cent and Robert Greene


Jennifer Anniston and Don Delillo in an adaptation of "White Noise". With Gerard Butler as the love interest.


Ohboy, I feel a new meme coming on ... Philip Roth and Natalie Portman adapting Portnoy?


Sasha Baron Cohen collaborating with Jonathan Littell on a musical version of "The Kindly Ones", called "Kind of Kindly".


Don't you hate it when you just realize that Banville and Colum McCann spoke at the 92nd St Y on Feb 24th and you are just seeing the invitation now in March? Damn.

Jack Pendarvis

I have yet to see one of these "moving pictures" as they are called. I understand the common hordes are quite fond of them. My niece informs me that Mr. Al Jolson is planning one in which the picture is "synchronized" with the previously recorded sound of his reprehensible "jazz" singing. I cannot imagine what Mr. Banville is thinking. One may only hope that no other respectable authors become involved with this most vulgar and distasteful of pastimes.


Jack -

I suggest you begin your acquaintaince with moving pictures by taking in the quaint little pantomime called "Avatar". It's a good way to begin.


Doesn't 'Glenn Close' sound like the name of a Banville narrator?


Wasn't Glenn's life the basis for Mamet's hilarious '80s love triangle? The name escapes me...


Anyone who equates Glenn Close with Sasha Baron Cohen or Jennifer Anniston is an ignorant, petty fool. In your mind, it may SEEM terribly clever to make such HILAROUS comments, but all you are really doing is displaying your ugly, unfounded, arrogance.

"I'm so literate and above the mass hordes! Look how clever I am at insulting strangers whom I know nothing about!"

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  • 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."