Garth Risk Hallberg, look of The Millions Blog, tries to answer the question in More Intelligent Life.

In his treatise on drama, “Three Uses of the Knife“, David Mamet cribs a distinction from Stanislavsky. Some narratives, he suggests, leave us saying, “What a masterpiece! Let’s get a cup of coffee,” while others ask us to wrestle with them for the rest of our lives. It’s a contrast that feels almost obsolete in book publishing. On the supply side, publishers rush to promote “instant classics” before posterity can render a verdict. On the demand side, we feel grateful for the distraction of “a good read.” An academic cottage industry has arisen to debunk categories of high and low, obscuring tensions between inspiration and craft, between edification and mere delight. Still, the old Horatian binaries tend to obsess the serious novelist, whose medium lives and dies along the borderline where art and entertainment meet.

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6 Responses to “Contact”

  • Comment from Susan Zenger

    Hi, I’m reading this in the original Spanish version, I doubt that there would be a huge difference in the general pagination of the books, but you never know. How many pages are there in the standard English text being used and how many weeks are involved. If I divide my volume by the number of weeks I should get about the same distribution, right?
    I am pretty unfamiliar with a lot of computor tech terminology. Mainly I want to see people’s comments and be able to add some of my own. Will there be a forum on this site, or do I need to join one of the other groups. A couple rudimentary tips on how to get around would help. I take it that certain individuals will be writing essays on a weekly basis to make commentary on things that they notice during the weeks reading, will these be posted here or else where? Thanks for any help.

  • Comment from Pablo Saborio

    estoy leyendo el articulo de Roberto en NYtimes. Anteriormente deje un comentario pensando que se encontraba vivo. Mis disculpas.

  • Comment from Dinesh Allirajah

    Hi – thought you might like a read of this blog post, specifically about the short story “A Literary Adventure” but about Bolaño in general:

  • Comment from Ivan Gutierrez

    I am currently reading Los Sinsabores del Verdadero Policia. Anybody out there reading it? If yes, what do you think of it? Looking to start a dialogue…


  • Comment from Matt

    Hi Ivan, I’m reading the book, too. I plan to post about it soon so keep an eye out!

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