Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Paris Review online

I've become completely addicted to the Paris Review online offerings. My way in was Louisa Thomas' blogging about the US Open (tennis, of course, not golf). Simply some of the finest sports writing I've read in a long while. I hope she keeps it up somehow, somewhere.

Then this morning I discovered that Nelly Kaprièlian has begun keeping a "culture diary" for the same outlet. Her first two entries are rather long, and I really don't know where she finds the time. In addition to being an editor and writer at the French weekly Les Inrockuptibles (I'm a subscriber and actually contributed a handful of record reviews in the late '80s), she often pundits — she's a regular on the radio critics roundtable Le Masque et la plume, for instance, and I keep catching her on various public-radio outlets. Plus her first diary entry reveals an active social life.

I confess to a love-hate relationship with Kaprièlian. On the one hand, she's a tireless defender of American fiction in France, and I will always cherish her memorable tongue-lashing of Jean-Louis Ezine, a fellow Masque literary critic and serial interrupter. (He's so witty and charming, however, that he's my favorite on the show!) On the other hand, Kaprièlian is a remarkably humorless snob (very French, that) and she shares the inexplicable (to me) Gallic enthusiasm for Philip Roth — even his latest novels.

But back to the culture diary, which I can see myself becoming addicted to. The prize so far is Kaprièlian's account of her interview with Michel Houellebecq, whose new novel, La Carte et le territoire, is a critical and commercial hit in France. I've read and loved all his books, and can't wait to get my hands on this one. Susannah Hunnewell's new chat with him is a must, too.

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