By Phyllis Rose
Can you will have an severe experience in a library? Phyllis Rose casts herself into the wilds of an higher East aspect lending library that allows you to do exactly that. Hoping to discover the “real floor of literature,” she reads her means via a slightly randomly selected shelf of fiction, from LEQ to LES.
The shelf has every little thing Rose may want for—a vintage she has no longer learn, a extraordinary number of authors, and a spread of literary kinds. The early nineteenth-century Russian vintage A Hero of Our Time via Mikhail Lermontov is backbone by way of backbone with The Phantom of the Opera by way of Gaston Leroux. tales of French Canadian farmers take a seat beside these approximately aristocratic Austrians. California detective novels abut a picaresque novel from the 17th century. There are numerous novels through a superb, humorous, modern novelist who has became to elevating canine as a result of the tepid reaction to her work.
In The Shelf, Rose investigates the books on her shelf with exuberance, candor, and wit while brooding about the various questions her test increases and measuring her discoveries opposed to her personal internal shelf—those texts that accompany us via lifestyles. “Fairly yes that nobody within the historical past of the realm has learn precisely this sequence of novels,” she sustains a feeling of pleasure as she creates a refreshingly unique and beneficiant portrait of the literary enterprise.
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Extra resources for The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading
Com/piracy. To Annie Dillard lector prodigiosa CONTENTS Title Page Copyright Notice Dedication Epigraph 1. The Experiment Begins 2. The Myth of the Book: A Hero of Our Time 3. Literary Evolution: The Phantom of the Opera 4. The Universe Provides: Rhoda Lerman 5. Women and Fiction: A Question of Privilege 6. Domesticities: Margaret Leroy and Lisa Lerner 7. Small Worlds: The Nightingale and the Lark 8. Libraries: Making Space 9. Life and Adventures: Gil Blas 10. Serial Killers: Detective Fiction 11.
It is so—well, so Nabokovian. It may seem familiar if you have read Pale Fire, in which the scholarly Charles Kinbote transforms John Shade’s Wordsworthian poem of the unfolding of the self into a tale about the deposition and exile of a northern monarch who may be Kinbote himself. Kinbote’s loony commentary is not only more interesting than the text it purports to illuminate, its fantasies and paranoia are the real subject of the novel. Kinbote overwhelms Shade as Nabokov overwhelms Lermontov.
Shteyngart’s introduction is equally upbeat and enthusiastic: A Hero of Our Time is one of the most exciting, innovative, and engrossing novels ever written. It is a sensual pleasure, elegantly proportioned, clearly structured, and, despite its easy categorization as both adventure and romance, endowed with an existential question in its final pages—“If predestination truly does exist, then why are we given free will and reason? ”—that magnifies the entire work, unites it, and bestows upon it the immortality it deserves.
The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading by Phyllis Rose