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The Paris Review Interviews, II: Wisdom from the World's Literary Masters (The Paris Review Interviews (2)) Paperback – Deckle Edge, October 30, 2007
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“The Paris Review books should be given out at dinner parties, readings, riots, weddings, galas -- shindigs of every shape. And they're perfect for the classroom too, from high schools all the way to MFA programs. In fact, I run a whole semester-long creative writing class based on the interviews. How else would I get the world's greatest living writers, living and dead, to come into the classroom with their words of wisdom, folly and fury? These books are wonderful, provocative, indispensible.” ―Colum McCann, novelist and Hunter College professor
“The most remarkable and extensive interviewing project we possess.” ―Richard Eder, The New York Times
“A small treasure. The interviews are literary landmarks, and the gossip, humor, ideas, and practical advice dispensed are bracing.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“Utterly absorbing . . . The interviews are all fascinating and often quite funny.” ―The Boston Globe
“Groundbreaking, eclectic, indispensable Q&As.” ―Elle
“As The Paris Review Interviews reveals, there is an art to the interview and a value to what it brings. . . . In the best interviews, the exchange of question and answer brings the authors to life.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“Fascinating interviews . . . [The subjects] discuss their writing and methods with detail and candidness found nowhere else. While lit fans will undoubtedly be satisfied, aspiring authors will glean tremendous insight from these masters of the craft.” ―The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“The unguarded moment . . . that's the holy grail for any interviewer trying to discover what makes a writer tick. The Paris Review has a long history of delivering such moments in the author interviews it has conducted over the past half century.” ―The Seattle Times
“A stimulating, funny, and provocative snapshot of five decades' worth of (mostly) American literary history . . . The resulting conversations are luminous and often revelatory.” ―Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Fascinating . . . This book will intrigue and delight any serious reader or writer. It may even inspire.” ―The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Here is a canon of great minds. . . . A fascinating attempt at getting to the heart of how writers work.” ―Financial Times (London)
About the Author
The Paris Review was founded in 1953 and has published early and important work by Philip Roth, V. S. Naipaul, Jeffrey Eugenides, A. S. Byatt, T. C. Boyle, William T. Vollmann, and many other writers who have given us the great literature of the past half century. Some of the magazine's greatest hits have been collected by Picador in The Paris Review Book of People with Problems as well as The Paris Review Book for Planes, Trains, Elevators, and Waiting Rooms and The Paris Review Book of Heartbreak, Madness, Sex, Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner, Baseball, Travels, the Art of Writing, and Everything Else in the World Since 1953.
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That being said, the best piece is still the one with Faulkner, then Garcia Marquez, then Bloom. The pieces on Thurber and King are also great reads
If youre deciding between vol. 1 and vol 2. Volume 1 is a better choice, by a few points. (I havent read Part III yet). Why? For one the amazing interview with Borges is there. And then the variety on the discussion regarding the "Art of Editing" (with Gottlieb and the superb writers he had edited works of), the poetry/poverty/adventure of Cain, annoyed tips of Hemingway, etcetera are all priceless.
American writers felt their creativity and inventiveness would end in their fifties. Faulkner felt a writer's responsibility was to do his art. The writer should be ruthless. A writer always has to compromise when writing for the movies Faulkner believed.
Robert Lowell felt that teaching meant a lot to him as a human being. A person can't write poetry all the time. Writing comes from a deep impulse, deep inspiration. It isn't a craft. While he was writing LIFE STUDIES Lowell figured out it was a regular beat that he disliked. Lowell thought of Frost and Eliot as New England poets. In both Chekhov and Frost the art was found in the well-chosen plots.
To Eudora Welty, Jane Austen was a kindred spirit. She felt even closer to Chekhov for reason of his appreciation of the individual. She lost sleep over reading TO THE LIGHTHOUSE. Katherine Anne Porter was wonderfully generous to her in the beginning.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez believes that journalism and fiction writing are matters of cross-fertilization. He never gets involved with a book unless someone recommends it. Philip Larkin refused almost all invitations to be a bigwig. He claimed that in writing a poem he constructed a verbal device. Larkin said he dealt with the passage of time by making every day the same. When young he exchanged unpublished poems with Kingsley Amis.
James Baldwin did not so much choose France as carry out the need to leave America. The painter Beauford Delaney taught Baldwin how to see. Baldwin believed that he had to go through a time of isolation. He wrote four novels before he published one.
William Gaddis had a reputation as a recluse. He thought he learned economy from Evelyn Waugh and that this is apparent in his novel, JR. Alice Munro lives in Clinton, Ontario. Her family lived in a collapsing enterprise, a fox and mink farm. Alice Munro and her second husband stayed in Ontario to be near older family members. When they passed on, Munro and her husband remained.
Information about the contributors appears at the end of this excellent book.