the art of fiction



Her manner is shy, but casual and friendly, and her gamine face crinkles easily into an attractive, rather secret smile. She wore a simple black sweater and gray skirt; if she is a vain girl the only indication of it was her high-heeled shoes, which were of elegantly worked light gray leather. 


His memory for dates is superhuman. Without consulting a diary or datebook, he would say things to me like: “The four worst summers of my life were in ’92, ’01, ’07, and ’08”; “I started working on Imperial Bedroomsin June ’06, and during that time The Informers premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of ’09 but opened theatrically in the U.S. in April of ’09, and then I finished Imperial Bedrooms in May ’09”; “I left New York for good, and with a bad coke hangover, on June 16, 2006.”


Well, I don’t know. I know Dostoyevsky was always in a miserable state, but you can’t say he deliberately chose psychological discomforts. No, I doubt that strongly. I don’t think anyone chooses these things, unless unconsciously. I do think many writers have what you might call a demonic nature. They are always in trouble, you know, and not only while they’re writing or because they’re writing, but in every aspect of their lives, with marriage, love, business, money, everything. It’s all tied together, all part and parcel of the same thing. It’s an aspect of the creative personality. Not all creative personalities are this way, but some are.


I have dedicated myself to reading the entire back catalogue of The Paris Review's Art of Fiction series.

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