Are you interested in the thoughts and lives of the bookish people of today? Don’t look any further and read the best interviews of the week.
Berit Ellingsen shared the book notes for Not Dark Yet.
Stalker is the film that inspired Not Dark Yet the most. The rain scene at the end of Stalker is something I watch again and again, maybe as often as once a year. Tarkovsky was an expert at filming water, its surface and light, and I think his treatment of water was very much at the back of my mind when I wrote the novel. The same with his long, slow, expansive takes of the characters set against the landscape. This track is from a scene of a dream of water.
Justin Taylor shares his unrevised idea about revision.
There’s no other readerly disappointment quite like something that almost works. The writer clearly has talent, natural as well as honed, and has put substantial time and energy into the work in question, which in turn has nearly achieved something. It’s enough to break your heart a little—but only a little, because whether what I’m reading is an assignment, on submission, or for pleasure, there are ten or a hundred other things I could be reading instead, so one pang of pity’s all you get.
The Rumpus book club talks to Paul Lisicky about his new book.
Denise and I got to know each other through our mutual love of Joni’s music. Of course lots of people love Joni’s music but we believed that we were the only two who got it. Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, Hejira. We just talked about that music, those lyrics, her persona, all the time. And in a lot of ways she was a role model for Denise. Her toughness, her belief in sexual freedom.
Also read his article on Buzzfeed about his break up called The Way We Tried To Erase Each Other.
I had voided him; he felt it. I wasn’t going to see him again. The devotion must have been gone from my voice and I was just another person who was going to walk away after he’d said too much. I doubt he’d expected that of me. Maybe he thought I’d shudder and flinch, as if my shoulders were hooked into strings.
We mentioned Garth Greenwell’s book in our newsletter and this interview with Hazzlit is just one of many.
I always tell people that if I died without trying to write a novel I would be really sad. In some way I tricked myself into writing a novel because I wasn’t convinced this was a novel until all three sections were written.
Rachel Cantor, Peter Catapano, Samantha Hunt, Maria Konnikova and Mira Ptacin talk about their new books, the reviews and careers besides writing.
One reviewer called my husband “long-suffering” and me “cranky.” One reviewer said they prefer to start stories in the beginning and end in the ending. But I actually loved that critique.
Anthony Marra about mixtapes, Tchaikovsky and comedic tragedies.
From personal experience, I completely agree that it is often easier to go for monotone sadness. When I was starting out, I wrote a gazillion short stories that ran the gamut of human suffering—drug addiction, child abuse, terminal illness, loved ones dying by all manner of misfortune, etc. In hindsight, it’s clear that I mistook the power of the situation for the power of the story.
Elizabeth McKenzie on the songs mentioned in her novel The Portable Veblen.
To put together a playlist that relates to The Portable Veblen, all I had to do was look through the book, where significant songs are mentioned and even sung throughout. One in particular feels like the true anthem of the novel, Jefferson Airplane’s “We Can Be Together.” I’d play it loudly while driving around in my car whenever I needed to get away from my desk and reenergize, and for awhile, even considered titling the novel after it.