Redux: Red, Black, and Purple Zigzags



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 at The Paris Review, we’re inspired by the adage “April showers bring May flowers” and the constant rain falling here in New York. Read on for Gabriel García Márquez’s Art of Fiction interview, Lydia Davis’s short story “The Seals,” and John Tranter’s poem “Rain.”

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

When I was working for El Espectador in Bogotá, I used to do at least three stories a week, two or three editorial notes every day, and I did movie reviews. Then at night, after everyone had gone home, I would stay behind writing my novels. I liked the noise of the Linotype machines, which sounded like rain. If they stopped, and I was left in silence, I wouldn’t be able to work.



The Seals
By Lydia Davis
Issue no. 207 (Winter 2013)

She worried about so many things. She would imagine a bad outcome and she would elaborate on it until it grew into a story and moved far away from where it started. It could start with a prediction of rain. To one of her grown daughters she might say something like, It’s going to rain. Don’t forget your raincoat. If you get wet you might catch cold, and then you might miss the performance tomorrow. That would be too bad. Bill would be so disappointed. He’s looking forward to hearing what you think of the play. You and he have talked about it so much…



By John Tranter
Issue no. 117 (Winter 1990)

‘We went to New York,’ Kathy said.
‘Colin was painting well then, and he was
on the edge of a breakthrough, he said.
Breakdown was more like it. He was drinking,
smoking a lot of dope. He’d sit on the floor
and stare at his work, and talk about his soul.
Why are men full of shit? He painted
big canvases, twelve feet across,
red, black and purple zigzags,
then he’d blacken them with a blowtorch—
trying to face up to the Americans,
he said …


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