Prufrock's Page

Friday, May 18, 2007

Outlining A Reviewer

Mark Sarvas limns Michiko Kakutani.

Or, As Jung Would Say, 'It's In The Collective Unconscious, Dude'

Jim Crace on comparisons between his The Pesthouse and McCarthy's The Road: "Well, I've read a bit of it. For me, it's unlucky timing. But the same thing happened when I brought out my novel about Jesus' time in the wilderness, Quarantine. By the time it got to America, Norman Mailer's The Gospel According to the Son was out. I think if an idea is out there, if it's in the air, other people are writing about it. The idea of America's apocalypse is in the air, especially since 9/11 and the Iraq War."

American And Latin American

After Granta's list of best young American authors, some leading Colombian authors put together their own list of 39 Latin American writers aged 39 or under, to inaugurate Bogotá's year as "capital of the book". One name appeared on both lists.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ramachandra Guha Joins The Tom Clancy And Dan Brown Club

"Books by contemporary Indian authors like Amitav Ghosh and Pankaj Mishra are quite popular, as is India After Gandhi by Ram Chandra Guha [sic], a book which cannot be flipped through, but must be chewed and digested. Books by Tom Clancy and Dan Brown are equally engrossing."

- Lucknow bookseller Valabh Kumar

Two Reasons There Will Never Be A Native American Suicide Bomber

"There's never going to be a Native American suicide bomber. Never ever. Number one, because in order to have suicide bombers you need the apocalypse. And we don't have that. And number two, suicide bombing implies being on time."

- Native American author Sherman Alexie, on tour to promote his first novel in a decade

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Keep On Keeping On

After Stephen King, another bestselling novelist decides to write a book on how to write: Walter Mosley's This Year You Write Your Novel summarises what he's learnt so far. His basic dictum: "Procrastination is the writer's greatest enemy. Let the lawn get shaggy and the paint peel from the walls. Keep at the writing. You'll discover a story to be told."

Little Magazines, Big Magazines

Here's an article in praise of The New Criterion, the little magazine that's survived for 25 years by pitting itself against "the complacent, jacket-copy style reviewing of the popular press, as well as the obscurantism promulgated by some corners of the academy". (Co-editor Roger Kimball is fond of quoting Oxford philosopher J.A. Smith: "Nothing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you in life — save only this — that if you work hard and intelligently, you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot.")

Meanwhile, the librarians at The New Yorker continue to answer readers' questions. In the latest instalment: who wrote under the pen name Guy Fawkes, and who was the Constant Reader?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What Was He Smoking?

Will Self ventures from Oscar Wilde's London home in Tite Street, Chelsea, to James Joyce's apartment at 73 Seefeldstrasse, Zurich -- in a day.

Perhaps The Most Distressing Simile One Has Come Across In A While

"Like a swab of cheek tissue, if you pick up a craft product at random it will invariably reveal to you secrets of the many cultures that have contributed to its existence. Papier-mache is just such a craft."

- From the introduction to an article in the May 2007 issue of JetWings, the in-flight magazine of Jet Airways.

Inside Writers' Minds

A.M. Homes needs a hotel room at Chateau Marmont; Alain de Botton, a large desk. Douglas Coupland eats chocolate, Anthony Bourdain chain-smokes, Jane Smiley takes hot showers. Find out about writers' rituals.

The Need To Tell Stories

"I've gained a lot from James Joyce, Tolstoy, Chekhov and R.K. Narayan. While writing, I try to see if the story is going to radiate spokes. Their literature has always done that and gifted me beautiful things. What brings me to my table every day is not an eagerness to please people. I'm just obeying my need to tell stories, and am grateful for all the amazing things that have happened to me that no writer dreams about."

- Jhumpa Lahiri, in a recent interview