Prufrock's Page

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Write On

In his review of David Remnick's Reporting, speaking of the writers that the New Yorker editor has profiled (Roth, deLillo, Solzhenitsyn) Neal Ascherson expresses a contrary view: "One thought that emerges from the finely done portraits of writers in Reporting is that exertion—notoriously —does not guarantee literary brilliance, and brilliance—unfairly—can flower without exertion. Marvelous literature can arrive in disconcerting ways. Idleness, a taste for drinking and laughing in pubs with hangers-on and pretty women, even the loss of keyboard time wasted by appearing on TV chat shows or becoming the president of a small republic, do not disqualify a writer. They merely mean that fewer books get written."


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