Redux: Lovers Surprised by Love



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

Gabriel García Márquez.

This week, we’re reading Gabriel García Márquez’s 1981 Art of Fiction interview, Junichiro Tanizaki’s short story “The Victim,” and Laurel Blossom’s poem “Plea to a Potential Lover.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to read the entire archive? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.


Gabriel García Márquez, The Art of Fiction No. 69
Issue no. 82 (Winter 1981)

If I had to give a young writer some advice I would say to write about something that has happened to him; it’s always easy to tell whether a writer is writing about something that has happened to him or something he has read or been told. Pablo Neruda has a line in a poem that says “God help me from inventing when I sing.” It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there’s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination.



The Victim
By Junichiro Tanizaki
Issue no. 16 (Spring–Summer 1957)

These things happened at a time when that noble virtue, frivolity, still flourished, when today’s relentless struggle for existence was yet unknown. The faces of the young aristocrats and squires were not darkened by any cloud; at court the maids of honour and the great courtesans always wore a smile on their lips; the occupations of clown and professional teahouse wit were held in high esteem; life was peaceful and full of joy. In the theater and in the writings of the time, beauty and power were portrayed as inseparable.

Physical beauty, indeed, was the chief aim of life and in its pursuit people went so far as to have themselves tattooed.



Plea to a Potential Lover
By Laurel Blossom
Issue no. 65 (Spring 1976)

Don’t take me home, at least not yet;
Let’s have another drink, and sit
and talk—I want to be your woman,
but there isn’t any rush.
Let’s take our time,
and think it out.

Lovers surprised by love, like us,
make one mistake: they make too much
of it, want the world
to love them, and believe.
The world believes
in nothing it can’t touch …


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