Skip to main content

April 18 (drizzling Kunderas)

It's drizzling outside, a fitting complement to this evening's early a.m. insomnia. Earlier in the evening (in the yesterday part of tonight), I scribbled a few pages of the rough stuff and called it "My Life as Kundera" although I may ultimately use "Think and Grow Kundera" as the title, taken from my earlier tweet in support of the idle twoughts of Alexander Chee. Anyway, the topic was my meandering musing on the Kudera-Kundera likeness, my father's interest in Milan's writing, me not being him, etc. It could become a section of The Book of Jay (see bottom links for rough-draft excerpts), but of course, I'll have to improve it a lot before it becomes anything at all.

It passed the time, though.

Speaking of J. Robert's engagement with the K., here's a photograph of some of my father's Kunderas, the paperback copies he discovered in bookstores decades ago:

The photograph is from earlier today, or I should say yesterday, but this copy of The Joke as a Penguin edition (1970) was his purchase decades ago and is the one I read when I finally read a Kundera novel in 2004. It's the third English translation of the book, but not the "definitive" one that includes Kundera's criticism of the previous translations of the book. That would be the Harper Perennial edition originally published in 1992. In the "Author's Note" at the end of the HP ed., Kundera's main expressed criticism of the Penguin edition concerns the editor's efforts at sabotaging the writer's punctuation.

Milan I feel your pain and I must confess that I have had similar feelings that I've never expressed formally in any Author's Note not yet and I've also tried to come to terms with allowing for such differences over commas and periods and even the possibility that the author does not and cannot know what is best in every way for his completed book while also recognizing that it is not only the apostrophe and the semicolon that must all be part of the joke

or no?


Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Russian Novels!

L.U.S.K. is excited to feature a guest post from Aisha O'Connor-Fratus, writer, editor, parent, and blogger at Hell's Domestic Backside. Enjoy this list of Aisha's ten favorite Russian novels:
1. Anna Karenina (Lev Tolstoy, 1873 to 1877). Anna is rich and bored. Anna hates the way her husband chews his food. Count Vronsky—played by Christopher Reeve, so handsome) sweeps Anna off her feet! But things do not end well for Anna.
2. The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1880). Not about a traveling circus acrobatic troupe. Its sweeping explorations of God, free agency, and morality are timeless and haunting. My favorite part is Ivan’s reciting of the poem “The Grand Inquisitor” in which Christ is resurrected during the Spanish Inquisition.
3. Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky, 1866). Life-long graduate student Rodion Raskolnikov tries to justify an unspeakably immoral act with eugenics and hey—a guy needs to eat.
4. Rudin (Ivan Turgenev, 1856). Dmitry Rudin talks the talk, but…

The Writing Life Starring Iain Levison

Iain Levison's Dog Eats Dog was published in October, 2008 by Bitter Lemon Press and his even newer novel How to Rob an Armored Car will be published by Soho Press in October, 2009. Back in '00 or so, L.U.S.K. first discovered Levison's A Working Stiff's Manifesto in hardcover with its original subtitle, "Confessions of a Wage Slave." That memoir established Levison's scalding wit and ability to hold the attention of an ever-tweeting audience. It was later released as a trade paperback with a supercharged second subtitle, and Levison has managed to survive, publish, and publish again. With long-terms roots in Scotland and Philadelphia, Levison currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina where he commits literature and carpentry as much as he can.

USK: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and when did you first identify as a writer?
IL: Writing is the only thing I've ever been any good at. Well, the only legal thing. Early on, I realized t…