I have a rather personal essay on Olivier Assayas’s Après mai in The Hinge of a Metaphor, edited by Richard Skinner. It also contains contributions from the likes of Susana Medina, Rachel de Moravia, Christian Patracchini, Imogen Reid, Matthew Turner, Tony White, Eley Williams, Richard Skinner himself and others.
Here is the cover of the ebook version of Unwords (Dodo Ink):
Unwords is a series of essays and reviews haunted by a phantom book I never completed when I was in my 20s.
It is about writers who do not feel the need to publish in order to affirm or reaffirm their status qua writers. Writers for whom literature is the ‘locus of a secret that should be preferred to the glory of making books’ (Maurice Blanchot). Writers who write in order to be able to stop writing. Writers whose decision to stop writing imparts ‘an added power and authority to what was broken off; disavowal of the work becoming a new source of its validity, a certificate of unchallengeable seriousness’ (Susan Sontag). Writers who write in invisible ink. Writers of works whose potentiality never completely translates into actuality. Writers who seek out the untranslatable. Writers who think that words can do what they cannot say. Writers who believe in the existence of the books they have imagined but never composed. Writers whose books keep on writing themselves after completion. Writers who strive, quixotically, to bridge the gap between art and life. Writers who hold that every book should contain its counterbook. Writers who sense that every good novel is also an anti-novel. Writers who turn language against itself. Writers who can never finish their works. Writers who can never begin theirs. Writers who destroy their manuscripts and writers who are destroyed by them. Writers who take their time; writers who take their lives. Writers who may be as fictitious as the yarns they spin. Writers who vanish into their writing. Writers who vanish into thin air…
It contains essays on the highest form of intergloss (and everything having already been said), the death of the novel, the death of the author, the unwritten, the unread and unreadable, the International Necronautical Society, fictive realism, Alain Robbe-Grillet’s reality hunger, the Oulipo and literary bondage, René Girard and mimetic desire, literary prizes, France’s rentrée littéraire, The Princess of Cleves as political weapon, linguistic nationalism, commemorating Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Guy Debord as national treasure, the new wave of French urban fiction, Jacno and the jeunes gens modernes movement, Marc Zermati, patisserie terrorism, Arthur Cravan, the slow writing movement, the importance of doing nothing, the dark young things, Andy Warhol’s answer to Ulysses, the poetics of spam, the literati and digerati, the disappearance of 3:AM Magazine (and literature), umbilical words, the melancholy of Guy the Gorilla, the world without me, two interviews with philosopher Simon Critchley, and an after(un)word made up of quotations.
It also contains reviews of works by Jenn Ashworth, Zygmunt Bauman, Claire-Louise Bennett, Laurent Binet, Owen Booth, Gavin James Bower, Kevin Breathnach, Michel Butor, David Caron, Joshua Cohen, Sam Coll, Steven Connor, Albert Cossery, Douglas Coupland, Tim Etchells, Jonathan Franzen, Dan Fox, Paul Gorman, James Greer, Len Gutkin, Isabella Hammad, Aaron Hillyer, Lars Iyer, Heidi James, Stuart Jeffries, Jean-Yves Jouannais, Alice Kaplan, Hanif Kureishi, Deborah Levy, Agustín Fernández Mallo, Ben Marcus, Tom McCarthy, Sam Mills, benjamin Moser, Marc-Edouard Nabe, Joyce Carol Oates, Tony O’Neill, Russell Persson, Max Porter, Chris Power, Ann Quin, C. D. Rose, Lee Rourke, Tiphaine Samoyault, Kathryn Scanlan, Will Self, Christiana Spens, H. P. Tinker, Tracey Thorn, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Anna Vaught, Joanna Walsh, Damon Young.