Genre as shtick, genre as turf, genre as obsession, genre as addiction…how far into the purple depths of verbiage will one man go in pursuit of that dread-stricken shudder?
The Sometime Seminar discusses Grimscribe (1991), a collection of horror stories by Thomas Ligotti.
With a language-mystical murder cult and a spy thriller lurking somewhere in the background, an adultery plot about a group of American corporate travelers abroad, and a lot of amorphous intellectual conversations, it’s a high-concept novel whose occasional incoherence is either charmingly postmodern or a bit on the shambolic side… or maybe both?
The Sometime Seminar discusses The Names (1982) by Don DeLillo.
Filthy suits, boneless steaks, necrophilous auras and feminist satire in the cafés and garrets of Surrealist Paris.
The Sometime Seminar discusses Insel, a posthumously published short novel about an artist by Modernist poet Mina Loy.
The enigmas of history (its accidents, survivals and erasures), the atmospherics of travel (their evocation, dissolution and fabrication), plus all the snow raspberries and sea urchins you can eat.
The Sometime Seminar discusses Hav by Jan Morris, a work of travel writing about a fictional country in two parts (Last Letters from Hav, 1985 / Hav of the Myrmidons, 2005).
“Speculative” in the sense of Hegelian world-dialectic meets “speculative” in the sense of telepathically linked swarms of insects, sentient inhabited stars, and green-furred humanoids that taste with their feet.
The Sometime Seminar discusses Star Maker (1937), a universe-spanning work of science fiction by Olaf Stapledon.
Picture, if you will, a madwoman in an attic. Now picture a house made entirely of attics, each containing a madwoman, and also the house was designed by a madwoman working in her attic studio. Sounds pretty great, right?
The Sometime Seminar discusses Villette (1853), the last novel by Charlotte Brontë.
How many inset narratives can you cram into a novel before it turns into a short story collection with an unconventional subtitle? Do story-filled conversations about the ethics and psychology of storytelling itself make for a good story?
The Sometime Seminar discusses Outline (2014), a novel by Rachel Cusk.
Supplemental links: review by Jenny Turner in the LRB
Scrupulous attention to nature in all its wonder and horror, stunningly beautiful descriptions of the landscape and its inhabitants, a healthy dose of self-abnegating obsession, and dead birds that smell like pineapple.
The Sometime Seminar discusses The Peregrine (1967) by J.A. Baker.
Supplementary link: Who was J.A. Baker? by Gillian Darley