I was recently at home in Chicago and came across an email I received from the extraordinary encyclopedic novelist Richard Powers. I forget, exactly, but I think I emailed him cold out of the blue, to ask if he’d blurb my then-forthcoming first novel, The White City. I also wrote to Thomas Pynchon and Don
The Rumpus has an interview I did with the brilliant British novelist David Mitchell. Read it here.
After the interview, he pulled a slim volume from his rucksack and read me his favorite poem in the world, “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” by James Wright.
Over my head, I see
The great lit Web site The Rumpus has an intriguing piece about the late, great Barry Hannah. Apparently he was a bit of a WWII buff and gave a lecture at Bennington entitled “Military History as Regards Fiction: The Unquenchable Thirst about World War II.” Man, what I would’ve given to have been there.
Brooklyn writer A.N.
Quite possibly the most brazenly insubordinate and thought-provoking book I have read since Walter Benjamin‘s landmark essay “The Work of Art In the Age Of Mechanical Reproduction” is David Shields’s highly hyped “manifesto,” Reality Hunger. (Inverted sentence structure intended, BTW.)
I don’t know if I am yet prepared to follow Shields into the novels-are-not-really-novels wilderness, but
Not the “best,” necessarily, but these are the novels, I think, which will cast the longest shadows to the writers of the future.
Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Tie: Ian McEwan, Atonement; Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces (now that we know it’s a novel)
“Terror keeps you slender.”
“A chemist can say how atoms bond. A molecular biologist can say how a mutagen disrupts a chemical bond and causes a mutation. […] But only a novelist can put all these actors and dozens more into the shared story they all tell, and make that story rearrange some readers’ viscera.”
An interview I did with the novelist Richard Powers (Goldbug Variations, Gain, The Echo Maker), originally published in the February 2007 issue of The Believer, has been reprinted in the new and revised Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers. It looks like this:
A review of Denis Johnson‘s new, 25-years-in-the-writing novel, Tree of Smoke, is in the October 2007 edition of The Believer.
A review of Matt Sharpe‘s new novel, JAMESTOWN, was published in the August 2007 edition of The Believer.