Prufrock's Page

Friday, June 08, 2007

Going The Roth Way?

The genre-loving Michael Chabon's new novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, has been critically acclaimed -- yet, some groups have protested against the novel's depiction of Jews. Here, the author talks of this and other matters: ."All I'll say about this is that it hasn't created a firestorm...There's always the risk, when Jews write about Jews, of creating a shander fer de goyim [a scandal for non-Jews]. Philip Roth gets it all the time. It's my first experience of that."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Forget Plot

"You would probably do just as well to get that plot business out of your head and start simply with a character or anything that you can make come alive. Wouldn't it be better for you to discover a meaning in what you write rather than to impose one? Nothing you write will lack meaning because the meaning is in you."

- Flannery O'Connor, in one of a newly-discovered cache of letters

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Oprah's Picks

After Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Oprah Winfrey's picked Jeffrey Eugenides luminous novel, Middlesex, as her new club selection. (During an interview with McCarthy, she asked him if his novel was "a love story to your son". Nothing like a question like that to thrill her audience.) As for Eugenides, he also has an essay in The New Yorker, about a real-life movie drive-in experience.

Standing On The Outside

The Voice of America does an assessment of Philip Roth now that his new work, Exit Ghost, is being hyped at BookExpo America. Here's one of the author's rare interviews, from December 2005: "It was the interests in life and the attempt to get life down on the pages which made me a writer - and then I discovered that, in many ways, I am standing on the outside of life". (While on the subject, here are "ten must-reads" from the BookExpo, including Junot Diaz's much-awaited debut novel.)

Time Flies

Arundhati Roy's debut novel was published ten years ago this month. Yes, a full decade. Here's a gushing reassessment.