The Delighted States

Book Digest It is apparent from Adam Thirwell’s (Politics) subtitle (“A Book of Novels, Romances, & Their Unknown Translators, Containing Ten Languages, Set on Four Continents, & Accompanied by Maps, Portraits, Squiggles, Illustrations, & a Variety of Helpful Indexes”) that he means to have fun with this book, which is a literary variation on what we loosely call the six degrees of separation—he connects Gustave Flaubert, Édouard Dujardin, James Joyce, Italo Svevo, and Gertrude Stein, and then back to Flaubert. Thirwell, who made the 2003 edition of the silly Granta list that included David Mitchell and Zadie Smith, turns what may be a heady literary solipsism into an engaging, provocative read.
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