Why are Nicholson Baker's three erotic novels so unsexy? And what can he learn from preeminent Spanish novelist Javier Marias? These questions are answered in "Lady Chatterley's Brother: Why Nicholson Baker Can't Write About Sex, and Why Javier Marias Can," the first in a new series of pamphlet-length ebooks on the most interesting writers and issues in contemporary literature. This 70-page book of twin essays jumps off from Nicholson Baker's most recent novel, House of Holes, explaining why that book is a failure (but for interesting reasons). From there it explains just why Spaniard Javier Marias does right what Baker does wrong. Collectively, these two essays chart out the history of sex writing in the 20th century: where it came from, where it's been, and where it's headed. Our conclusion: Baker's ever-more-pornographic writing is a turn-off and a dead end; Marias' ambiguous, sexy seductions predict the future of literary sex.
"Lady Chatterley's Brother" is the first in a series of small ebooks of about 70 pages that dig deeply into the most interesting writers and issues in contemporary literature. Slightly too long for the Web, but not long enough for a full-on, printed book, these essays are a perfect fit for ereaders.
“An exciting new project.” — Chad Post, Open Letter, Three Percent
“If traditional literary criticism is a bunch of old fogies in tweed peer reviewing one another into oblivion in some horrid windowless conference center meeting room, then this exchange of minds is like two readers down at the pub, sharing pints and thoughts, sitting in the dark corner talking, maybe getting a little drunk, maybe getting a little loud, raising their voices and the eyebrows of the regulars bellied up at the bar. I find that a hopeful image. If the future of literary criticism is this kind of impassioned conversation, a commerce of loves and anger, then literature itself still has a crucial role to play.” — J.C. Hallman, author of In Utopia, and editor of The Story About the Story: Great Writers Explore Great Literature.
About the Author
pieces to the Arkansas Review, the Cimarron Review, the Colorado Review and many other publications with “review” in their title. He received an MFA from the University of Alabama in 2004, and he has taught writing at Samford University and Rhodes College. He lives with his wife and two children in a house down by the river in Memphis, Tennessee, where he works as a technical writer. In his free time, he’s working on a novel about being impolite.
Scott Esposito is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Quarterly Conversation, since 2005 an online periodical of literary criticism. He has reviewed books for various publications for nearly a decade, with his essays, interviews, and reviews published by Tin House, The Paris Review, the Los Angeles Times, Bookforum, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Barnes & Noble Review, Words Without Borders, Publishers Weekly, and numerous others. In addition, he has written introductions to novels for the Dalkey Archive Press and Melville House Publishing and has spoken on criticism, literature, and translation at panels for public and professional events. He also maintains Conversational Reading, a blog focused on literary fiction and nonfiction.