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I suspect this might be the most post modern book I have read It claims to be a collection of unfinished stories with explanatory essays for each, but I m pretty sure it s a novella whose protagonist is Ivan Vladislavic Basically, it s a writer writing about not writing, while demonstrating such proficiency that the premise that Vladislavic did not or could not finish the stories becomes unsupportable This is a book that unwrites itself Worth it for any story, the Robert Walser piece espec I suspect this might be the most post modern book I have read It claims to be a collection of unfinished stories with explanatory essays for each, but I m pretty sure it s a novella whose protagonist is Ivan Vladislavic Basically, it s a writer writing about not writing, while demonstrating such proficiency that the premise that Vladislavic did not or could not finish the stories becomes unsupportable This is a book that unwrites itself Worth it for any story, the Robert Walser piece especially I ve been obsessed for some time now with Vladislavi s writing on post apartheid Johannesburg Pretoria, and his ability to approach complex and polarizing political problems with sincerity and directness Although not his best work nothing beats Missing Persons , The Loss Library is a gem for anyone who s interested in how he thinks. What an ingenious book It is composed of the author s various notes that outlines the beginning of creative projects that failed Hence the loss library An inspiration that begets a project but never completes The books is a mix of essay, fiction, and lament.An in depth look at the creative writing process The author s witty, and although he details those projects that failed, there s certain optimism in his voice One quote says An imperfect mechanism is often beautiful There must be pl What an ingenious book It is composed of the author s various notes that outlines the beginning of creative projects that failed Hence the loss library An inspiration that begets a project but never completes The books is a mix of essay, fiction, and lament.An in depth look at the creative writing process The author s witty, and although he details those projects that failed, there s certain optimism in his voice One quote says An imperfect mechanism is often beautiful There must be play in the mechanism for it to function properly the perfectly tooled device, one whose components fitted together perfectly by what measure would be rigidly immobile It would seize up, it would not move P 114I particularly enjoyed his reference to great writers Robert Walser, Georges Perec, Rebalais, etc Quotes Is it fair to weave fictions out of the lives of real people How else are fictions to be made All fiction is the factual refracted Is the degree of refraction, that is, the extent to which the factual is distorted, the mark of accomplishment P 27Operating within self imposed constraints or carrying out a set of rigid procedures can lead to the discovery of new and surprising effects Constraints are welcomes as a kind of resistance against which the imagination grinds and sparks Difficulty often produces a daring imaginative response P 32Play, according to Barthelme, is one of the great possibilities of art P 33But standing on the shoulders of giants is a skill that comes from long practice When you start out, you arelikely to get under their feet P 45In Sebald, the images are cut down to size and drained of authority They are always less than orthan illustrative they do not live up to the text or they carry an excess that demands an explanation Their purpose is less to define than to disrupt, to create ripples and falls in the beguiling flow of the prose They are pebbles and weirs P 54On 10 May 1933, the day of the book burning in Berlin, it poured with rain It is tempting to read this chance event as divine disapproval but worse conflagrations have passed without the heavens shedding a tear In any event, the wood that stood ready to fuel the fire on Opernplatz was damp and had to be doused with petrol before it would catch P 101 Ivan Vladislavic s collection of unfinished stories is at first interesting as a novelty item some essays that reflect on unfinished stories in a unique way But upon reading through these rich essays, the novelty fades away and it becomes clear that Vladislavic had grander intentions in mind when he composed this book Composition is indeed an apt term for Vladislavic s musings, for they are not merely essays which describe a process They are rather a collection of prose, pieces interspersed Ivan Vladislavic s collection of unfinished stories is at first interesting as a novelty item some essays that reflect on unfinished stories in a unique way But upon reading through these rich essays, the novelty fades away and it becomes clear that Vladislavic had grander intentions in mind when he composed this book Composition is indeed an apt term for Vladislavic s musings, for they are not merely essays which describe a process They are rather a collection of prose, pieces interspersed with notebook entries, which come to life when considered as a singular body of work The entire collection, twelve essays in total, are structured neatly around one central eponymous short story that was written in 2005, The Loss Library It tells the tale of a writer who finds himself in a massive library where all the unwritten stories of history land up This structure, which finds The Loss Library directly in the middle, reveals itself to be the overriding purpose of this wonderful contemporary piece of literary achievement Upon completion, the reader is able to look back on the ravages of these lost stories and realise that they have been woven into a coherent narrative which reveals the frustration at the bottom of a writer s creative process.In truth, it is only once the reader completes the journey through this exciting world that they are able to realize just how beautiful Vladislavic s prose is Instead of lamenting his inability to finish all the ideas that come into his head, Vladislavic decides rather to construct an ode to writers everywhere And in so doing, he has composed a charming collection of what might have been which actually speaks to what actually is I want to write a story about the last days of a writer, but I am preoccupied with hats Of all the things people wear, nothing isexpressive of character than a hat, perhaps because it is so close to the wearer s face, or even to his mind This dead man s hat is small, light and jaunty, with an impish tilt in the brim It makes the random ending of his life seemoutrageous In the end, real people are nearly harder to like than fictional characters Is it fair to weave fic I want to write a story about the last days of a writer, but I am preoccupied with hats Of all the things people wear, nothing isexpressive of character than a hat, perhaps because it is so close to the wearer s face, or even to his mind This dead man s hat is small, light and jaunty, with an impish tilt in the brim It makes the random ending of his life seemoutrageous In the end, real people are nearly harder to like than fictional characters Is it fair to weave fictions out of the lives of people How else are fictions to be made All fiction is the factual refracted Is the degree of refraction, that is, the extent to which the factual is distorted, the mark of accomplishment It is interesting that we do not often think of figures or landscapes frozen in words All the books in our library are lost in their own way, she says, but the sorriest of all, in my opinion, are those that were talked away by their authors Not writing is always a relief and sometimes a pleasure Writing about what cannot be written, by contrast, is the devil s own job Yet words on a page make all things possible Any line, even this one, may be a place to begin In recent weeks I have reviewed a couple of books by Jacques Poulin which celebrate the written word, both novels having the protagonist as a writer or translator and working in a remote location, struggling with writer s block or simply coming to terms with the written word I have also reviewed Dear Reader by Paul Fournel, lamenting the death of publishing and the interference of editors Another being The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico Garcia Lorca Ascends to Hell by Carlos Rojas w In recent weeks I have reviewed a couple of books by Jacques Poulin which celebrate the written word, both novels having the protagonist as a writer or translator and working in a remote location, struggling with writer s block or simply coming to terms with the written word I have also reviewed Dear Reader by Paul Fournel, lamenting the death of publishing and the interference of editors Another being The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico Garcia Lorca Ascends to Hell by Carlos Rojas where our author says my novel, we ll call it that in order to call it something, represents absolutely nothing So a series of reviews celebrating the written word Let s continue the theme for a little longer shall we Just over a year ago I reviewed Ivan Vladislavic s Double Negative , from South Africa, a story of Neville Lister, a university drop out, who has returned to live in his parent s home, working meaningless jobs painting the lines in car parks A family friend and famed photographer agrees to take Neville on a tour for a day, teaming up with a journalist they are seeking a story and images of the pre Apartheid era of South Africa The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories is a beautifully presented book, containing eleven explorations and narrations of short stories the writer never finished Each story having an inserted artwork by Sunandini Banerjee, each specially created for each fragment As our cover flap says this is an unusual test, a blend of essay, fiction and literary genealogy where South African novelist Ivan Vladislavic explores the problems and potentials of the fictions he could not bring himself to write Unlike a number of reviews I have done in the past, of short story collections, I won t go into each of the eleven stories here, picking only a few as an example of the book.For my full review go to |FREE E-PUB ♿ The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories ♟ Not writing is always a relief and sometimes a pleasure Writing about what cannot be written, by contrast, is the devil s own job In this unusual text, a blend of essay, fiction, and literary genealogy, South African novelist Ivan Vladislavic explores the problems and potentials of the fictions he could not bring himself to write Drawing from his notebooks of the past twenty years, Vladislavic records here a range of ideas for stories unsettled accounts, he calls them, or case studies of failure and examines where they came from and why they eluded him In the process, he reveals some of the principles that matter to him as a writer, and pays tribute to the writers such as Walser, Perec, Sterne, and DeLillo who have been important to him as both a reader and an author At the heart of the text, like a brightly lit room in a field of debris, stands Vladislavic s Loss Library itself, the shelves laden with books that have never been written On the page, Vladislavic tells us, every loss may yet be recovered An extraordinary book about both the nature of novels and the process of writing, The Loss Library will appeal to anyone seeking to understand the almost magical and mythical experience of breathing life into a new work of fiction Praise for Vladislavic In the tradition of Elias Canetti, a tour de force of the imagination Andr Brink The prose is stunning It gives the impression of the words and the phrases having been caught from the inside as though the author lives on the other side of language, where every word is strange and dancing, and the way they are put together produces complicated patterned exchanges like minuets Tony Morphet Indian Philosophy A-Z by contrast Naked Shall I Return is the devil s own job In this unusual text The Angel of Antioch a blend of essay The Secret History of Dante fiction Manners Cost Everything and literary genealogy The Truth About Man South African novelist Ivan Vladislavic explores the problems and potentials of the fictions he could not bring himself to write Drawing from his notebooks of the past twenty years A Quest For More Vladislavic records here a range of ideas for stories unsettled accounts Dangerous Calling he calls them Helping Your Adopted Child or case studies of failure and examines where they came from and why they eluded him In the process Instruments in the Redeemers Hands he reveals some of the principles that matter to him as a writer The Law (in Plain English) for Publishers and pays tribute to the writers such as Walser Sam and Jack (Leveled books) Perec Ned Wildings Disappearance Sterne Ralph of the Roundhouse (1906) and DeLillo who have been important to him as both a reader and an author At the heart of the text Psychological Nudity like a brightly lit room in a field of debris Gumaan / گمان stands Vladislavic s Loss Library itself Sri Sri Yoga the shelves laden with books that have never been written On the page Pregnancy Vladislavic tells us Unarten every loss may yet be recovered An extraordinary book about both the nature of novels and the process of writing Vikings of the Sunrise The Loss Library will appeal to anyone seeking to understand the almost magical and mythical experience of breathing life into a new work of fiction Praise for Vladislavic In the tradition of Elias Canetti Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines a tour de force of the imagination Andr Brink The prose is stunning It gives the impression of the words and the phrases having been caught from the inside as though the author lives on the other side of language Hát bội, đờn ca tài tử và cải lương cuối thế kỷ 19 đầu thế kỷ 20 where every word is strange and dancing Nỗi oan thì, là, mà and the way they are put together produces complicated patterned exchanges like minuets Tony Morphet What do writers do with their unfinished stories, novels and essays This extraordinary collection of stories by South African novelist Ivan Vladuskavic is an exploration of unsettled accounts of writing stories begun and abandoned and others that ultimately ended life as a line or two in a notebook There are eleven in all of what the author calls case studies taken from his notebooks of the past 20 years Along the way he pays homage to other writers such as Walser, Perec, Sterne, and DeLillo What do writers do with their unfinished stories, novels and essays This extraordinary collection of stories by South African novelist Ivan Vladuskavic is an exploration of unsettled accounts of writing stories begun and abandoned and others that ultimately ended life as a line or two in a notebook There are eleven in all of what the author calls case studies taken from his notebooks of the past 20 years Along the way he pays homage to other writers such as Walser, Perec, Sterne, and DeLillo This collection is less about the stories andabout the writing process and the nature of novels, I am not a huge reader of short stories but found each one to be compelling, provocative and unique The title story is hauntingly beautiful and Vladislavic s prose is stunning Not writing is always a relief and sometimes a pleasure Writing about what cannot be written, by contrast, is the devil s own job Yet words on a page make all things possible Any line, even this one, may be a place to begin A beguiling series of lost and near begun stories, fictions, pieces of life Vladislavic is as ever effortless in his creation of striking images and catching tales, and as ever honest with his own sense of pride and self effacement Stand out stories include the nearly fledged The Loss Library , the wonderfully whimsical tale of inadvertent creation Mouse Drawing , and the whimsically melancholic Dictionary Birds As Vladislavic and other reviewers have noted, these fragments work better in A beguiling series of lost and near begun stories, fictions, pieces of life Vladislavic is as ever effortless in his creation of striking images and catching tales, and as ever honest with his own sense of pride and self effacement Stand out stories include the nearly fledged The Loss Library , the wonderfully whimsical tale of inadvertent creation Mouse Drawing , and the whimsically melancholic Dictionary Birds As Vladislavic and other reviewers have noted, these fragments work better in their unfinished form than they would have as finished pieces Also enclosed are a series of clever prints, most graphics overlaid with simple drawings What fun Stories about lost stories, grouped around a story about a library of lost books I enjoyed them a great deal and then evenwhen I stopped taking them at face value Wouldn t it be delightful if the premise were all a deceit If Vladislavic hadn t ever started his abandoned fragments but made these up too, and wrote stories around them I think I half believed that by the end, when the final piece echoed the first in its description of a photograph of a dead body.All accompanied b What fun Stories about lost stories, grouped around a story about a library of lost books I enjoyed them a great deal and then evenwhen I stopped taking them at face value Wouldn t it be delightful if the premise were all a deceit If Vladislavic hadn t ever started his abandoned fragments but made these up too, and wrote stories around them I think I half believed that by the end, when the final piece echoed the first in its description of a photograph of a dead body.All accompanied by collages by Sunandini Bannerjee, as beautiful as we now expect of her work, almost falling off the pages of my copy because they re hand glued Really the ultimate book fetishist s book