Author: Alec

‘In Praise of the Long, Lunatic Novel’: An Essay on The Rumpus

I wrote an essay about long, lunatic novels. Read it at The Rumpus.
If the great English novelist and linguist Anthony Burgess was onto something when he wrote, in A Mouthful of Air, that literature arose as an expression of “loneliness and exile—a cry in the dark, whistling in the dark”—then what are we to do with these

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Author: Alec

Believer Interview with Fred Tomaselli

I interview psychedelic painter Fred Tomaselli in the January issue of The Believer.
THE PROCESS
IN WHICH AN ARTIST DISCUSSES MAKING A PARTICULAR WORK
FRED TOMASELLI, NIGHT MUSIC FOR RAPTORS

The world according to Fred Tomaselli is a dark, druggy, visually lurid place: a swirling dazzle of eye-popping data. Influenced equally by SoCal surfer culture and New York City trash-punk,

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Author: Alec

Author: Alec

9/11

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was at my apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. For some reason, I turned on the TV before leaving for work: I don’t know why, it wasn’t something I did regularly at the time. Images of North Tower burning were already on the air. After watching, dumbfounded, I

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Author: Alec

Susan Michod, “Shrouds”

My phenomenally talented mother, Susan Michod, has a new show of her Shroud paintings, which she started immediately after 9/11. She ended up painting them for the next four years. Haunting, filled with swirls of color and color’s absence, these paintings are among my favorite she’s done.
From the Artist Statement:
Shrouds. A shroud. Many shrouds. Paintings

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Author: Alec

Richard Powers letter about ‘The White City,’ circa 2003

I was recently at home in Chicago and came across an email I received from the extraordinary encyclopedic novelist Richard Powers. I forget, exactly, but I think I emailed him cold out of the blue, to ask if he’d blurb my then-forthcoming first novel, The White City. I also wrote to Thomas Pynchon and Don

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Author: Alec

The Voice

There was somebody else in him, another being who was not a person but who followed his every thought and movement. Whatever he missed, whatever he did or intended to do, this someone was watching impassively, voicing no opinion but not leaving him alone either.
Péter Nádas, Parallel Stories

Author: Alec

John Sayles Interview

I interviewed John Sayles for The Rumpus, and like his incredible new novel, A Moment in the Sun, the interview was long and brilliant, an expansive, breathtaking portrait of one of our most fearless and daring storytellers. The entire thing ran to over 15,000 words, although the final produced clocked in at around 3,000–if anyone

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Author: Alec

Lorrie Moore on the Memoir

I recently had a one-sided conversation with a certain writer and self-professed celebrity of middling repute, a former writer of fiction. “What’re you working on these days?” he asked. I told him I was working on a new novel. “It’s all about nonfiction now, son,” he said, and then he rambled on and on about

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Author: Alec

The first interactive book?

Ever since I read Umberto Eco’s propulsive doorstopper, Foucault’s Pendulum, I’ve been mildly obsessed with secret–well, secret anything: societies, conspiracies, books. When it comes to the latter, there’s really no other book quite as secretive as the Voynich manuscript. The Voynich is a handwritten book thought to be written in the early 15th century–in top-secret code.

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