John Gardner, in an interview, said an editor once told him about his novel The Sunlight Dialogues,that it needed to be cut by a third. He retorted, he said, Which third?
When it was finally published, it went on to be a bestseller. I remember reading in in paperback when Gardner was recommended to me by a teacher, the novelist and short story writer Richard Bausch. It’s been a long time since I read it, but one of the things I remember about it was “the Sunlight Man” delivering long, hectoring lectures to the main character, Fred Clumly. And I remember feeling a little hectored myself, and skipping a lot of that. Continue reading →
As is often the case with the web, I stumbled across this clip while looking for someone else (or nothing at all, really; just surfing–but surfing implies some sort of deliberation or volition, and there was none here. There should be another word for this: lolling in the waves. Which is of course not a word.). In this clip, Jonathan Franzen talks about the general irrelevance of the novelist to American culture at large. My first thought was not to agree with him. And while in a certain sense, I don’t agree with him, I have to agree that, sure, “no one, outside of a very small circle in New York, could care less about what Philip Roth thinks about the Iraq war.” Continue reading →