Posts Tagged ‘twenty first century novel’

LiteraryMinded’s List for 2008

December 21, 2008

Blood & Tinsel Jim Sharman. I said: ’The memoir is highly absorbing entertainment and has the potential to appeal to different ages and audiences, from those who will recognise suburban Australia, punk London, and hippie-era Tokyo, to those that only know Sharman through cult associations. Blood & Tinsel is an interesting and unique story of a personality with an original, genuine take on the world.’ See full review, and the interview with Jim Sharman.

Firmin – Sam Savage. I said: ‘It makes it a deeply artistic, truthful and quite absurd book. I walk around with the feeling of it still, a little unshakable – it feels a lot like Midnight Cowboy … I think about Firmin still weeks afterwards and bring the book up in all sorts of conversations, and I know its effect, its character, its purpose, its lines, are turning it into a favourite.’ See full review.

The Boat – Nam Le. A moving, intelligent, original, absorbing short story collection. I was lucky enough to see Nam at both the Byron Bay, and Melbourne Writers’ Festivals. Read my ‘responsive’ interview with him here.

The Spare Room – Helen Garner. Which left me staring at the wall.

Wintering: a Novel of Sylvia Plath – Kate Moses. An elegant, quiet book. Not reviewed on LM but it has stayed with me. I would recommend it for Plath fans, or fans of someone like Michael Cunningham.

Uncorrected Proof – Louisiana Alba. The most original book I read this year – utterly compelling postmodernism. I said: ‘Uncorrected Proof is a postmodern novel that entertainingly riffs on form, style, character, tense, person – but with an overall thriller/quest type plot appropriation, it folds you into its delicious bizarro metascapes and humorous oft-satirical, oft-homagical visions.’ Read the full review.

No Other Life But This – Nathan Curnow. An unassuming little chapbook that gets deep under your skin. The kind of poems you can read over and over. I have an interview with Nathan alongside another amazing poet Sean M Whelan lined up for the new year.

The Boy Detective Fails Joe Meno. fear. alone. love. See here.

The Blogging Revolution – Antony Loewenstein. An eye-opener. A well-written, personalised nonfiction book that is essential to our era. Should be read by young and old. See my extensive interview with Antony.

The complete works of Kafka. That’s right. All of it. The short fiction, the novels, the diaries, the notebooks, and a bunch of biographies and essays about him. I fell in love with this man. I will write about him, I promise, in the future. A taste, from my visit to the Kafka museum in Prague.

The Two Kinds of Decay – Sarah Manguso. A striking biography of a woman’s years dealing with a rare illness. Compelling. Review possibly forthcoming…

Eat the Document – Dana Spiotta. I said: ‘Eat the Document had me enthralled. It is engaging, dignified, brilliant. No moments feel contrived. There is no message forced upon the reader but a series of characters in a completely defined reality, echoing our own. It is edgy, involved and tightly written.’ Read full review, and interview with Dana Spiotta.

I really had a great reading year (and I just realised how many books I have read, besides working, writing, blogging, travelling and moving interstate!). Thanks to everyone who recommended and sent books to me. Of course, there were a lot of books that I didn’t love, and you’ll find a few peed-off reviews in the archives. There were also many good books, that nonetheless didn’t completely blow me away. The above are books I will always remember. The above are books I would recommend widely. The above books I learnt from, and am grateful for their existence. They made me feel both alive and understood, they taught me, they spoke to me. I love them.

I must note that I am currently reading The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, and I’m sure it would have made the list… it’s so defiant, intelligent, truthful and compelling. I must get back to it right now…

And 2009 is…

Well, I’ll try.

Also, Miss LiteraryMinded is blogging all the way through the holidays, with maybe just a few days hiatus over Christmas, so stay tuned lovely readers!


Excerpts of Uncorrected Proof

December 2, 2008

See excerpts of Uncorrected Proof by Louisiana Alba on

Review of Uncorrected Proof from (Ms) Literary Minded

November 7, 2008

From (Ms) Literary Minded in Melbourne

Uncorrected Proof – Louisiana Alba
November 7, 2008 – 7:54 am, by LiteraryMinded

ElephantEars Press, 9780955867606, 2008 (UK)

Can something be playfully and overtly postmodern and still be readable – driving you through a compelling plot? Louisiana Alba proves it can be done. Uncorrected Proof is a postmodern novel that entertainingly riffs on form, style, character, tense, person – but with an overall thriller/quest type plot appropriation, it folds you into its delicious bizarro metascapes and humorous oft-satirical, oft-homagical visions.

Somehow Alba (if that’s who she really is… death of the author etc.) incorporates stylistic elements of hard-boiled fiction, screenplays, cookbooks, metafiction, the spy novel, cyberpunk, the literary novel, A Clockwork Orange, Gaelic, intertextuality, memoir and so much more in a book that self-consciously satirises the entire book and publishing industry – authors, editors, publishers – literary celebrity, literary delusions, literary snobbery, literary stupidity and so on.

So what’s it ‘about’? Archie’s novel manuscript has been pilfered and plagiarized by Martyn Varginas, prolific mystery writer. Archie and his friend Cal plot a convoluted revenge through Archie getting work as an editor, and employing a re-plagiarisation of the book by a young hired-gun (or pen, as it were). What follows are kidnappings, political intrigues, sex, jaunts to New York and Paris (from London), Stake-outs, party crashings, a couple of book launches, boardroom drunkenness, author cameo appearances, mean streets, cop/spy banter, and a few disturbing murders.

I was completely absorbed in this book – somehow Alba makes it so easy to read, despite the switcheroos in style, and shifts in narrative drive and character motivation. The book’s title Uncorrected Proof displays irony – those not in bookselling or publishing may be unfamiliar with a ‘proof copy’ or ‘uncorrected proof’ – books that become available before release, oft-unedited versions of the final with spacing, grammatical and typing errors. This ‘published’ book, has a few (tongue-in-cheek) placed throughout.

Alba has worked in publishing, and is actually avoiding traditional distribution methods for the book, keeping in the uber-hip underground spirit of the novel – with a well-handled guerilla internet and out-of-hand distribution system. I came across the author through Facebook.

This book proves to me that extraordinary talent can be represented through shunning traditional publishing methods. This book is inventive, imaginative, and inspiring. It is a unique publication. If you enjoy Italo Calvino or John Fowles, or if you also work or have worked in the book industry, even on the fringes, you would get a great kick out of this novel.

There’s an amazing offer at the moment on the ElephantEars Press website. Postage on Uncorrected Proof FREE to any destination! (world-wide)

See some of you at the Page Seventeen launch tomorrow…

“Uncorrected Proof” with Shakespeare & Company

October 22, 2008
image by Toshio

image by Toshio

A review from LA on Louisiana Alba’s novel

A sly poke at genre fiction, literary untouchables and the publishing industry. Even though I wasn’t able to pick out all the literary styles — and frankly I was so into the story it didn’t matter — when I was able to pick up on an author or style it just added to the fun. A thoroughly enjoyable pulp story…

Paul Duran, LA director and writer (Flesh Suitcase and The Dogwalker), Los Angeles

Notes on the style, story and technique Louisiana Alba uses in Uncorrected Proof

April 21, 2008



A century after Bloomsday, Louisiana Alba reworks the tale of Achilles and Homer’s Iliad, updating James Joyce’s technique in Ulysses placing its stylistic innovation into a postmodern context. Louisiana Alba sets out to enface a portrait of the artist as a postmodern. While Joyce engineered his almost total self-effacement and reader spatialization in one day of the life of Dublin in 1904, Alba cites and parodies his way inside story to a self-portrait, setting himself and the reader in multiple places and contexts, redefining the mock heroics (and heroics) of writing of the twentieth and twenty first centuries.

Alba lands story and style in places readers will be familiar and unfamiliar with – London, New York, Barcelona, Aigues-Mortes and Hackney – not attempting to lose the myth of his authorial self in detail as Joyce set out to do. Instead, joining in the tradition of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol he forges and builds new meaning for the styles of others, mining irony, paradox and contexualism, siting readers in the floating consciousness of the postmodern artist.

Uncorrected Proof contradicts the postmodern idea of story as redundant and irrelevant. In Alba’s deconstruction of style he doesn’t set out to affirm story as the only truth a reader can believe in, but unlike Joyce he doesn’t seek to negate it either. Joyce followed the travels and trials of Ulysses almost to the laborious realtime and mythical letter, but Uncorrected Proof goes further than myth, putting down roots into a recreation of the part of the Iliad that seems never to have been “written” – Homer’s prequel to the Iliad, the conditions for Helen’s flight: her first kidnap by the northern Greek king Leonidas; the breakdown of her marriage to Menelaus; the early interaction of Achilles with Helen; her first meeting with Paris; the hidden role of Agamemnon throughout.

Implicitly Lousiana Alba asks if the novel, if not all literary forms, in truth are not only part of a seamless continuity of technique and content, part of something we can never truly know.

Alba creates his own authorial face in an open challenging of style with style, celebrating and excoriating each in equal measure. Uncorrected Proof does not end with closing of the cover but traces out into the vast complex universe of literary history in search of itself. Using the Google map here on site let us know where this is for you. Send us a note from wherever you are if you know the answer to whoever Alba thinks he is.

In the end will we know the truth of his tale, protagonist or this author better because of the efforts laid out in the pages of this novel? Does it matter that we do? If you know the answers to any of these questions we want to know who you are.