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
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
“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.”
“Watch what you say around writers.”