Prufrock's Page

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Off Again

Departing this evening for one of those sessions where one gets to sit in a room all day and listen to people imparting words of marketing wisdom. Will be back late Monday, and blogging -- if that's what you can call this collection of links -- will resume then.

America's Greatest Living Author Says...

..."You're talking to the wrong guy. That should be your headline: You're talking to the wrong guy."

McGregor's Challenges

One is looking forward to reading Jon McGregor's new book, and more so after reading this pithy interview. On the challenges he faces: "Being original - being worth reading. Keeping the same burning drive and ambition which I had before anyone had bought any of my books. Mastering the semi-colon."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'd Like To Thank My Mother And Dubya

Indian novelist Kiran Desai said she may never have won the Booker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious literary awards, had George W. Bush not been U.S. president -- as he put her off becoming an American citizen.

The Man Booker Prize is open only to British and Commonwealth citizens and Indian-born Desai has yet to apply for a U.S. passport, although she has lived in New York for 20 years.

"George Bush won once and he won the second time and I couldn't bring myself to (apply)," Desai said late last month in an interview in Toronto as she voiced her disapproval of the president's foreign policy.

"So I really owe George Bush my Booker, in an odd way. It's really very funny."

- Reuters report (Link courtesy Maud Newton.)

Rana Dasgupta Shortlisted...

...for the John Llewellyn Rhys prize.

Advice For Writers: Keep Lying

"...research shows that working while lying prone on the floor not only stabilises the forearms (so that precision hand muscles are used for typing or writing rather than upper arms) it increases employees' visual attention by over 30 per cent."

- From a Guardian report, which also mentions that Thomas Wolfe and Vladimir Nabokov wrote while standing up.

Banville And Black

"...there's the same exquisite attention to Proustian sensation invoking lost childhoods, lost women and missed opportunities. Characters are mired in a past that haunts them and which they can never fully expiate, despite their obsessive introspection."

Hmm. Looks like Benjamin Black's been ripping off John Banville.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Make Up Your Mind, There's a Good Chap

"Most novels are post-modern. We're in a post-modern period, although I'm not sure any of us fully understand what post-modern actually means. It's innovative the way I tell three separate stories ... but each of the three is quite traditional. I never wanted to produce ironic or post-modern commentary on literary modes; I wanted to embrace them. I guess it's a sort of post-modern version of extremely old-fashioned traditional forms."

- Michael Cunningham on his Specimen Days

Perhaps He's Brighter Than One Thought

"We only know, I believe, what we know now: 'knowing' no more consists in what we once knew than in what we shall know in the future..."

- Michel de Montaigne

"As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know."

- Donald Rumsfeld

(Pointed out by Tim Rosenthal.)

A Chat With Kureishi

"For a guy who always seems to be writing from the eye of a cultural whirlwind, Kureishi in person seems improbably even-keeled. A compact man of medium height, with tightly cropped gray hair and a stare as focused as a peregrine falcon's, he chats with amiable forthrightness about an array of booby-trapped subjects: Slavish materialism in the post-Thatcher era. Inter-religious strife. The nasty, as well as euphoric, things that can happen between a man and a woman in bed..."

- The LA Times profiles Hanif Kureishi, who's working on a "fat, juicy novel", and awaiting the release of Venus, which he's scripted.

Original Copies

All writers are plagiarists. It is how we begin. But it isn’t how we end up.

EverGreene Memory

"One day I saw Graham Greene, one of my favourite writers, checking into the InterContinental. We sat by the pool and Greene, then 81, drank one vodka after another. A Panamanian friend said, 'Graham, haven’t you had enough?' He held out his empty glass for a refill. The alcohol did not seem to have any effect on him and he could still walk at the end of our talk.

"As we said goodbye he told me that he had not done an interview since Auberon Waugh wrongly reported, some years before, that he had slept with a pistol under his pillow. "

- Matthew Campbell, in Nicaragua