Prolific Or Talented?
Geeta Sharma-Jensen speaks to Michael Ondaatje, whose Divisadero is attracting favourable reviews, and finds him trying to bring poetry into fiction, thus taking a long time about it: "Each novel takes him about five years to complete. Then, he spends a year or two getting over it before he can even think of writing another novel, he says." Meanwhile, the alarmingly prolific Joyce Carol Oates (117 volumes of poetry, fiction, and criticism!), who's just released The Gravedigger's Daughter, replies to charges of over-production: ''Like most people, I can be very easily hurt. You need so much energy and encouragement to write that if someone says something negative, some of that energy goes. [But] I think it's inevitable. And understandable.''