Book Details

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    • October 2010
    • 9780231150804
  • 168 Pages

  • Hardcover
  • $16.95
  • / £12.95


    • October 2010
    • 9780231521697
  • 168 Pages

  • E-book
  • $16.99
  • / £13.00

The Novelist's Lexicon

Writers on the Words That Define Their Work

Edited by Villa Gillet / Le Monde

At the renowned, international literary conference hosted by Villa Gillet and Le Monde, organizers asked more than seventy prominent authors to choose a word that opens a door to their work. Their musings, collected here for the first time, offer an extraordinary portrait of writing and reading from the novelist's perspective. Organized alphabetically by keyword, the anthology is filled with intriguing, amusing, and often surprising insight, essential to an intimate understanding of literature.

Through these personal "passwords," authors articulate the function of language, character, plot, and structure. Throughout the process, they reveal their relationship to the elements of story. Jonathan Lethem discusses the necessity of "furniture" in the novel. A. S. Byatt describes the power of the narrative web. Colum McCann details the benefits of anonymity. Daniel Mendelsohn expounds on the unknowable, or what the author should or should not impart to the reader. Etgar Keret explains the importance of balagan, a Hebrew word meaning "total chaos," and Annie Proulx clarifies terroir, which embodies the complexities of time, place, geography, weather, and climate. Other participants include Rick Moody on adumbrated, Upamanyu Chatterjee on the bildungsroman, Enrique Vila-Matas on discipline, Adam Thirwell on hedonism, Nuruddin Farah on identities, Andre Brink on the heretic, and Péter Esterhazy on the power and potential of words, words, words.

"Enlightening and enjoyable." — World Literature Today

"These authors represent an impressive range of nationalities, making their book a very good read. The essays are consistently well-written, playful, intelligent, engaging. They are so varied in their approaches and offer such distinct voices that, oddly for a lexicon, the book is something of a page turner. The reader is always curious to see what comes next. All the pieces provide interesting perspective on the workings of the novelist's mind(s)." — Jody Gladding, poet, translator, and author of Rooms and Their Airs

"This could be the beginning of a new literary genre& mdash;a collective, global genre, uniquely a product of our time. In it, writers, like participants in a reality TV show, find themselves forced to perform not in isolation (as they do in their own books) but as part of a group, against which they'll be instantly measured. This is a new kind of literary globalization, in which French and English mingle freely with Arabic, Vietnamese, Spanish, and every other language in the world. Each entry is strong and memorable, but what matters most is the sheer variety of approaches, the way each writer so fully defines him or herself, his or her idea of literature, in just a few lines, as well as the astonishing number of new names joined by more familiar ones. This bold experiment in taking the bull of literary globalization by the horns constitutes an important document of intensive, ongoing contact between all languages and all literatures." — Esther Allen, codirector, PEN World Voices

Adumbrated, by Rick Moody
Aletherature, by Hélène Cixous
Amen, by Zeruya Shalev
Anonymity, by Colum Mccann
Autofiction, by Philippe Vilain
Available, by Lyonel Trouillot
Awareness of Banality, by Dimitri Verhulst
Balagan, by Etgar Keret
The Banana Republic of Letters, by Chloé Delaume
Beauty, by Robert Dessaix
Bildungsroman, by Upamanyu Chatterjee
Breton, by Christophe Honoré
Bricoleur, by Monika Fagerholm
Catin, by Jacques Henric
Chaff, by Ayerdhal
Cinderella, by Eric Reinhardt
Creature, by Alissa York
Cunnilingus, by Rikki Ducornet
Disappointment, by Nelly Arcan
Discipline, by Enrique Vila-Matas
Dream, by Dany Laferrière
Échappée, by Marie Desplechin
Evolution, by Karen Connelly
Faire, by Christine Angot
Fille, by Alain Fleischer
Furniture, by Jonathan Lethem
Happiness, by Wei-Wei
Harmony and Reconciliation, by Hwang Sok-Yong
Hedonism, by Adam Thirlwell
Heretic, by André Brink
Honesty, by Peter Stamm
"I", by Rachid El Daif
Identities, by Nuruddin Farah
Wise Imagination, by Pascal Mercier
India, by Tarun J. Tejpal
Insomnia, by Ludmila Ulitskaya
Island, by Erri De Luca
To Last, by Giuseppe Culicchia
Laughter, by Tariq Ali
Lies, by Adriaan Van Dis
Loyalty, by Duong Thu Huong
Mariquita, by James Cañón
The Meaning of A Word..., by Kirsty Gunn
The Strolling Mirror, by Rodrigo Fresán
No, by Olivia Rosenthal
No Why, by Yannick Haenel
Nomad, by Elif Shafak
The Novel As Web, by A. S. Byatt
Novel/Life, by James Meek
What Is The Novel?, by Alaa El Aswany
Novice, by Nicolas Fargues
Paralipomena, by Lydie Salvayre
Pathos, by Alberto Garlini
Phantom, by Ying Chen
Physical, by Luc Lang
Plague, by David Peace
(The) Present, by Jean-Yves Cendrey
"Real", by Philippe Forest
The Real, by Nicole Malinconi
(Holy) Russia, by Geneviève Brisac
A Successful Sentence, by Gila Lustiger
Shadow, by Elisabetta Rasy
Signed D.C., by Dennis Cooper
Silence, by David Albahari
The Depopulated Skies, by Thomas Jonigk
Suffering, by Fatos Kongoli
Terroir, by Annie Proulx
Un-, by Jonas Hassen Khemiri
Unknowable, by Daniel Mendelsohn
The Unreal, by Arthur Japin
Waiting/Attention, by Anne Weber
Woman, by Benoîte Groult
The Word Word, by Leslie Kaplan
"Words, Words, Words", by Péter Esterházy
Work, by Rafael Chirbes
Yusuf, by Suhayl Saadi
Zorby, by James Flint

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