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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Books’

Books of the Year, Angus Miranda’s pick: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

December 17, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →


Galignani Bookstore in Paris, two or three blocks from the Louvre

Reader: Angus Miranda

My favorite book this year is Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. How predictable! Isn’t this the recent winner of the Man Booker Prize? Shouldn’t Americans be banned from the Booker? (I said that — JZ) And haven’t there been enough books about Lincoln? Not enough, for sure, especially about Lincoln mourning the death of his son, Willie.

The night of Willie’s death, a state dinner is held. The Civil War is yet to begin. Many historians attend the dinner. In their accounts, they offer competing opinions on every available perspective at the event, from the perfunctory smiles of Lincoln and his wife, the inappropriateness of the dinner, to the color of the moon (was there even a moon at all?).
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ProBernal AntiBio is the best Filipino film book of the year, maybe of all time

December 12, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies No Comments →

I got my copy from Butch Perez at lunchtime, opened to page 1, and did not stop reading until I finished the whole book. So no work was done today, and it was a day very well spent.

Intelligent, wicked, sometimes vicious (Bernal did not spare anyone, especially himself), this anti-biography is presented as a wide-ranging conversation between filmmaker Ishmael Bernal and his closest friend, the scholar and screenwriter Jorge Arago. Mercifully many of Bernal’s targets are long-dead, because he murders them.
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Savage justice: Colm Toibin dares retell the Oresteia of Aeschylus

December 08, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →


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The Crash: How Ishiguro wrote a novel in 4 weeks, longhand, helped by a Tom Waits song

November 18, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Music No Comments →

From 2014, the 2017 Nobel Prize winner on how he wrote his Booker Prize winner. By the time you embark on The Crash, you should have done all your research. You will need 1. Absolutely no distractions. 2. Pen and paper. 3. The right playlist.

How I wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks
by Kazuo Ishiguro

Many people have to work long hours. When it comes to the writing of novels, however, the consensus seems to be that after four hours or so of continuous writing, diminishing returns set in. I’d always more or less gone along with this view, but as the summer of 1987 approached I became convinced a drastic approach was needed. Lorna, my wife, agreed.

Until that point, since giving up the day job five years earlier, I’d managed reasonably well to maintain a steady rhythm of work and productivity. But my first flurry of public success following my second novel had brought with it many distractions. Potentially career-enhancing proposals, dinner and party invitations, alluring foreign trips and mountains of mail had all but put an end to my “proper” work. I’d written an opening chapter to a new novel the previous summer, but now, almost a year later, I was no further forward.

So Lorna and I came up with a plan. I would, for a four-week period, ruthlessly clear my diary and go on what we somewhat mysteriously called a “Crash”. During the Crash, I would do nothing but write from 9am to 10.30pm, Monday through Saturday. I’d get one hour off for lunch and two for dinner. I’d not see, let alone answer, any mail, and would not go near the phone. No one would come to the house. Lorna, despite her own busy schedule, would for this period do my share of the cooking and housework. In this way, so we hoped, I’d not only complete more work quantitatively, but reach a mental state in which my fictional world was more real to me than the actual one.

Continue reading.

Let’s reread Kazuo Ishiguro.

November 07, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 10 Comments →

The first Ishiguro novel I ever read was The Remains of the Day. It was subtle and shattering, two adjectives I’ve found myself using regularly to describe his work. (Full disclosure: I hated The Buried Giant.)

Fiction readers tend to have huge backlogs, but to celebrate Ishiguro’s Nobel Prize, why don’t we toss Never Let Me Go on top of the stack? It’s subtle, shattering, and short. Then let us know why you love (or don’t love) Kazuo Ishiguro’s work, and who was your bet for the prize. (Mine was Ursula K. LeGuin.)

Next: Less by Andrew Sean Greer.

Coming Soon: Twisted Travels Volume 2

November 04, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Notebooks, Traveling 2 Comments →

The Twisted books are out of print so it’s time to make new ones. I just finished writing a long account of my trip to the Czech Republic, which reminded me that I have over a decade’s worth of travel notebooks, most of them unpublished. There’s enough of them to fill a large bag.


Chuvaness gave me this shopping bag last year, which is how I learned of the existence of Opening Ceremony haha.

Everything is in longhand so now I have to type it all up and edit it. That, or find a really good OCR app.

Interested publishers, email saffron.safin@gmail.com.