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Posts Tagged ‘Louise Erdrich’

In Conversation

November 5, 2013 | by

NotebookandPenlarge

Seven years ago I was walking up Fifth Avenue with David Foster Wallace. He wanted to know what I thought of The Names. That one’s the key, he said, speaking of Don DeLillo’s work like it was a safe which contained its own code. It was hat-and-glove weather. Wallace wore a purple sweatshirt. Where did I get my coat? he asked. That’s a great coat, he said. It was like something James Bond would wear. Had I been to this restaurant before?

We had just walked into Japonica, a sushi restaurant on University Place. Our interview was underway, and Wallace was already several questions ahead of nearly every writer I had ever profiled. Most writers, even the most curious one, don’t ask questions of a journalist. Nor should they, necessarily. They are the ones being interviewed, after all.

Wallace, however, seemed to think in the interrogative mode. He was tall and slightly sweaty, looking like he had just come from a run. But he seemed determined not to intimidate. He was like a big cat pulling out his claws, one question at a time. See, look, I’m not going to be difficult.

Once we got going, though—and there was a propulsive, caffeinated momentum to the way he talked—he returned, constantly, to questions. Had I ever written about my life? It’s hard, right? Are celebrities even the same species as us? Is it possible to show what someone was really like in a profile?

“These nonfiction pieces feel to me like the very hardest thing that I do,” he said, talking about Consider the Lobster, the book he had just published, “because reality is infinite.” And then. “God only knows what you are jotting.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this encounter lately. For the past fifteen years, I have interviewed a lot of writers. A few hundred—perhaps too many, but why not say yes? Shortly out of college a friend gave me a vintage set of The Paris Review Book of Interviews. They exhaled the flinty musk of a cigar smoker’s home, and were as snappy as the lining of a 1940s dinner jacket. Read More »

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Here We Are: On the Occasion of Philip Roth’s Eightieth Birthday

March 23, 2013 | by

Birthday-Party

Upon the occasion of Philip Roth’s eightieth birthday, acclaimed critic and biographer Hermione Lee likened the newly retired writer first to Shakespeare and then to one of his creations, The Tempest’s Prospero, who famously invokes the audience’s applause as a means to his freedom. But surely, not even Prospero enjoyed such applause as Mr. Roth received on his birthday night, as family, friends, and fans gathered at the Newark Museum on Tuesday evening to honor the literary legend. Dressed in their party best, yet casual and comfortable (no black ties here), guests at the invitation-only celebration—including Philip Gourevitch, Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, Library of America’s Max Rudin, official Roth biographer Blake Bailey, and many dedicated Roth scholars and members of the Philip Roth Society—perused collections of American and Tibetan art and visited the nineteenth-century home of the Ballantines, then mingled in the museum’s airy classical court, pacing the marble floors, conversing, sipping sodas and sparkling water, and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres and crudités before moving to the auditorium for a program of tributes and speeches. Read More »

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Louise Erdrich Wins NBA for Fiction

November 15, 2012 | by

We’d like to congratulate Louise Erdrich on her National Book Award for The Round House. The following quote, from her Art of Fiction interview, explores the author’s approach to writing:

I take great pleasure in writing when I get a real voice going and I’m able to follow the voice and the character. It’s like being in a trance state. Once that had happened a few times, I knew I needed to write for the rest of my life. I began to crave the trance state. I would be able to return to the story anytime, and it would play out in front of me, almost effortlessly. Not many of my stories work out that way. Most of my work is simple persistence … But if the trance happens, even though it’s been wonderful, I’m suspicious. It’s like an ecstatic love affair or fling that makes you think, It can’t be this good, it can’t be! And it never is. I always need to go back and ­reconfigure parts of the voice. So the control is working with the piece after it’s written, finding the end. The title’s always there, the beginning’s always there, sometimes I have to wait for the middle, and then I always write way past the end and wind up cutting off two pages.

 

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Santa Comes to White Street, Holds Monster Truck Rally, Lorin’s Head Explodes

December 15, 2010 | by

Just in time to launch our December issue—out now!—Santa showed up in the person of longtime Review fan Paul Opperman, plus his friends Aaron Mirman (music), of the Duotone Audio Group, and Todd Stewart (editing), of Consulate Films. They gave us our first video ever! Paul assures us that no drawings or authors were actually harmed in the making of this tribute.

Music is by Paul and Aaron. Monster truck vocals—including Monster Truck Franzen and Monster Truck Erdrich—are by Todd. (“I only do monster truck.”) Footage of Lorin talking was repurposed from the cutting-room floor of Plimpton!, a work in progress by Tom Bean and Luke Poling.

As they say in the advertising business, this is your “call to action”—order now!

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Introducing the Winter Issue

December 6, 2010 | by

Jonathan Franzen has just given the deepest, most searching and revealing interview of his career. And we don’t mean on Oprah. You won’t find this interview on TV, on YouTube, or anywhere else on the Web.

You can only find it in the winter issue of The Paris Review, alongside a startling portfolio, curated by David Salle, of paintings by Amy Sillman and Tom McGrath; a selection of portraits and landscapes by legendary draughtsman Saul Steinberg; and a troubling, sexually charged novella by Hungarian master Péter Nádas.

Issue 195, which will hit newsstands December 15, also includes a Writers at Work interview with novelist Louise Erdrich, poems by Brian Blanchfield and Jim Moore, debut fiction by Alexandra Kleeman and Claire Vaye Watkins, and much, much more.

Order your copy today—or click here for our holiday gift offer and consider Christmas solved. Happy holidays!

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