Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Slowly, like an ant

[A] novelist is essentially a person who covers distance through his patience, slowly, like an ant. A novelist impresses us not by his demonic and romantic vision, but by his patience.


— Orhan Pamuk, The Paris Review Interviews, IV.

I won a publisher's contest some time ago and was so very pleased to find the prize on my doorstep last week: The Paris Review Interviews (Boxed Set) I-IV. (The corners are smushed and one face is thoroughly gouged, but it still functions perfectly well as a slipcase. The books are fine, and their contents are priceless.)

I've read some of the interviews online, of course, but I expect the books to serve as a sometime reference and serendipitous source of inspiration, there when I need it.

(Here's an excerpt from the Pamuk interview. I remember being struck by a habit he told of, when working in the same space as he was living, of leaving home in the morning as if were going to work, walking round the block, and returning to sit down to work. If ever I find myself working from home again, I mean to try this strategy.)

I'm not really sure how to read this collection of interviews. It's not the sort of thing to be read cover to cover. Although, I'm discovering that a single interview makes for excellent metro reading, and I think I'd be wise to leave a volume in the bathroom.

I've decided to let my reading lead me through them. Since I've recently read novels by Orhan Pamuk and Graham Greene, I thought I'd check out those interviews first. I have Haruki Murakami on my shelf and I'm planning to get to it next month; then I'll read the interview to complement the novel.

Sometimes a reader too must move slowly, like an ant.
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