The Notebook, the Proof, the Third Lie [Agota Kristof, 1993]
The eeriest of recollections of world war II and its aftermath, at first a war story recounted in clipped sociopathic objectivity, later becoming a study in subjectivity and deep, prolonged sadness. Full of images I will not forget.
The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories [Bruno Schulz, 1933]
Halucinatory poetic nostalgia, haunting and fanciful and vivid to extremes of fountaining sunscattered prose. Schulz somehow became known as the “Polish Kafka” but this is an entirely different beast, less cynical and much more lavishly described, however concurrently bizarre.
Sleep Has His House [Anna Kavan, 1973]
Though darker and more overtly dreamworld-dwelling (netherworld dwelling?) than Street of Crocodiles, this is Anna Kavan’s equivalent: a ghostly story (memoir?) of a systematic retreat from reality, conveyed near entirely in nocturnal inner visions.
Recollections of the Golden Triangle [Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1978]
Robbe-Grillet spent the 70s writing what seems like one ravingly weird avant-garde noir, equal parts scalpel-sharp aesthetics, postmodern-brilliance, and prurient pulp trashiness. This might be the most condensed single “novel” to float up to the top of the meta-work in book form.
Nevermore [Marie Redonnet, 1996]
Hotel Splendid [Marie Redonnet, 1994]
Austere, darkly funny post-Beckett accounts of human disappointment, near-affectless yet affecting.
The Melancholy of Resistance [László Krasznahorkai, 1989]
A finely-worked parable unrest, authority, and the abuse of power condesning 20th century Hungary into a span of a few days. Masterful but somehow less immediate than Kristof’s alternate version of Hungarian experience.
Diary of the War of the Pig [Adolfo Bioy-Casares, 1969]
The Lime Works [Thomas Bernhard, 1971]
The Baron in the Trees [Italo Calvino, 1957]
Animal Inside [László Krasznahorkai, 2010]
Auricle / Icebreaker [Alisha Piercy, 2010]
Log of the S.S. the Mrs. Unguentine [Stanley Crawford, 1971]
Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass [Bruno Schulz, 1937]
Journey to the End of Night, Louis-Fernand Celine, 1932]
Fantomas [Marcel Allain, 1911]
Lint (Acme Novelty Library #20) [Chris Ware, 2010]
Gaylord Phoenix [Edie Fake, 2003ish-2010]
Travel [Yuichi Yokoyama, 2008]
X’ed Out [Charles Burns, 2010]
Une Semaine De Bonté [Max Ernst, 1934]
Monster Parade [Ben Catmull, 2006]
Uptight #3 [Jordan Crane, 2008]
Kuš! Comics Anthology #7 [compilation, 2010]
Finding Joy [Luke Ramsey, 2008]
I was going to try to summarize the entire year, but it’ll take too long to transcribe all the books I read so, in brief:
-Best books read this year: Jorge Louis Borges - Collected Fictions (finished this year, mostly read last), Anna Kavan - Ice, Alain Robbe-Grillet - La Belle Captive, Agota Kristof - The Notebook, the Proof, the Third Lie, and Bruno Schulz - the Street of Crocodiles.
-Total novels/collections read this year: 83
-Total comic books read this year: 22
-Total non-fiction read this year: 1 (oops)