- César Aira: Ghosts
- César Aira: The Literary Conference
- Phillip Lopate: Notes on Sontag
- Harry Mulisch: The Assault
- John McGahern: Love of the World
- Jenny Erpenbeck: The Old Child & The Book of Words
- Jenny Erpenbeck: Visitation
- Phillip Lopate: Against Joie de Vivre
- Damon Galgut: In a Strange Room (Reading this one on my iPad, so the actuall book will go as a gift...)
- Roland Barthes: The Preparation of the Novel
Last night I had a look in Lopate's Notes on Sontag, and in the introduction he clearly introduce her as a much better essayist than novel writer. Lopate is a reliant expert in the essay genre, and I have no doubt his judgement is right. But Sontag herself would definitely disagree (if she had had a chance - ). To her the novel always came before the essay.
On page 17 Lopate cites a rather harsh comment from Barthes on Sontag's work. Again I believe that it is primarily the fiction writing Sontag that are judged to not be strong enough.
Isn't it both strange and a bit sad that she can't be satisfied with being an excellent essay writer?
And isn't it also very interesting that this harsh critique comes from a man who himself was a great essayist wanting to become a novelist?!
I guess this is not the only question waiting for me in this stack of books ...