An essay on Ann Quin at the Quarterly Conversation


For a time I was a regular presence in the slender Q-sections of my local bookstores. It was the first sentence of Ann Quin’s novel Berg that brought me there: “A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father . . .” I don’t remember where or why I read it, but I remember the ensuing search well. It lasted months. The bindings of those few Qs privileged enough to recur with any regularity—de Quincy, Queneau, Quindlen, Quinn—became familiar figures, an alliterative clique of book-backs attending to the baffling absence of any Ann Quin. I was patient, that alluring first sentence circling in my head till I knew every word, while I struggled to comprehend how a book with such a first sentence, such a seemingly iconic opening, could be so hard to find in New York City.

Click here to read the essay at the Quarterly Conversation

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