the story of our life

“Once upon a time there was a woman who was just like all women. And she married a man who was just like all men. And they had some children who were just like all children. And it rained all day.

The woman had to skewer the hole in the kitchen sink, when it was blocked up.

The man went to the pub every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The other nights he mended his broken bicycle, did the pool coupons, and longed for money and power.

The woman read love stories and longed for things to be different.

The children fought and yelled and played and had scabs on their knees.

In the end they all died.”

(Elizabeth Smart, The Assumption of the Rogues & Rascals, p. 81.)

a sparkle even if synthetic

“When Jericho fell, weeping was permitted, and in Babylon it was fashionable to make a memorable moan by the retreating waters. But here you must go to your office, looking spritely, with a sparkle even if synthetic in your eye. For who dares to stand up and say ‘We are weary! O Christ but we are weary!’ ”

(Elizabeth Smart, The Assumption of the Rogues & Rascals, p. 23.)

the price of books

“83. When Fust, or Faustus, sold at Paris his first printed bibles as manuscripts, the price of a parchment copy was reduced from four or five hundred to sixty, fifty, and forty crowns. The public was at first pleased with the cheapness, and at length provoked by the discovery of the fraud. (Mattaire, Annal. Typograph. tom. i. p. 12.; first edition).”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. IV, chapter XLIV; p. 802 in volume 2 of the Penguin edition.)

a proposal for reforming congress

“The Decemvirs had neglected to impart the sanction of Zaleucus, which so long maintained the integrity of his republic. A Locrian who proposed any new law, stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and if the law was rejected, the innovator was instantly strangled.”

(Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. IV, chapter XLI;V pp. 783–4 in volume 2 of the Penguin edition.)

september 1–september 15

Books

  • Fleur Jaeggy, Sweet Days of Discipline, translated by Tim Parks
  • Michal Ajvaz, The Other City, trans. Gerald Turner
  • Gore Vidal, Julian
  • China Miéville, The City & The City
  • Félix Fénéon, Novels in Three Lines, trans. Luc Sante
  • Jean-Phillipe Toussaint, Running Away, trans. Matthew B. Smith
  • Jean-Phillipe Toussaint, Making Love, trans. Linda Coverdale
  • Sergio Chejfec, My Two Worlds, trans. Margaret B. Carson

Films

  • Le petit soldat, directed by Jean-Luc Godard
  • Les Carabiniers, dir. Jean-Luc Godard
  • La Chinoise, dir. Jean-Luc Godard
  • Plague Summer, dir. Chester Kessler
  • La mort du cerf: une chasse à courre à Villiers-Cotterets, dir. Dimitri Kirsanoff
  • Image in the Snow, dir. Willard Maas
  • Celery Stalks at Midnight, dir. John Whitney
  • The Voices, dir. John E. Schmitz
  • Episodes in the Life of a Gin Bottle, dir. Bela von Block
  • Schichlegruber doing the Lambeth Walk, dir. Charles A. Ridley
  • Falling Pink, dir. Robert H. Spring
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild, dir. Benh Zeitlin

Exhibits

  • “Luis Camnitzer,” Alexander Gray Associates
  • “The Feverish Library,” Friedrich Petzel Gallery
  • “Penny Slinger: An Exorcism Revisited,” Broadway 1602
  • “Yayoi Kusama: Drawings from the mid-50s,” D’Amelio Gallery

august 16–august 31

Books

  • Fleur Jaeggy, S.S. Proleterka, trans. Alastair McEwen
  • Bruce Kellner, Kiss Me Again: An Invitation to a Group of Noble Dames
  • Edouard Levé, Suicide, trans. Jan Steyn
  • Jorge Luis Borges & Adolfo Bioy-Casares, Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi, trans. Norman Thomas di Giovanni
  • Roberto Arlt, The Seven Madmen, trans. Nick Caistor
  • John O’Hara, Butterfield 8
  • Claudio Magris, A Different Sea, trans. M. S. Spurr
  • Adriano Spatola, The Porthole, trans. Beppe Cavatorta & Polly Geller

Films

  • What About Bob?, directed by Frank Oz
  • Margaret, dir. Kenneth Lonergan
  • Godard in America, dir. Ralph Thanhauser
  • BUtterfield 8, dir. Daniel Mann
  • Flying Deuces, dir. A. Edward Sutherland
  • The Broadway Melody, dir. Harry Beaumont
  • Sons of the Desert, dir. William A. Seiter
  • The Black Cat, dir. Edgar G. Ulmer