Redux: Some Timeworn, Worm-Eaten Piece of Paper



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.

László Krasznahorkai. Photo: Nina Subin. Courtesy of New Directions.

This week at The Paris Review, we’re celebrating our long and fruitful shared history with New Directions with a special bundle: until the end of January, subscribe and receive a year’s worth of issues along with three novels by László Krasznahorkai, Fernanda Melchor, and Enrique Vila-Matas. Read on for László Krasznahorkai’s Art of Fiction interview, Fernanda Melchor’s “They Called Her the Witch” (an excerpt from her novel Hurricane Season), and Enrique Vila-Matas’s Art of Fiction interview.


László Krasznahorkai, The Art of Fiction No. 240
Issue no. 225 (Summer 2018)

The power of the word is, for me, the only way to get closer to this hidden reality. Everyone is a fictional person and, at the same time, a real person. I belong to the fictive world and to the real world—I’m there in both empires. You too. And everyone in this restaurant. And also this object and everything we can perceive and also things we can’t perceive, because we know that with our five senses, some part of reality is imperceptible. I’m not being esoteric. Reality is so important to me that I always want to be aware of every possibility.


Fernanda Melchor. Photo courtesy of New Directions.


They Called Her the Witch
By Fernanda Melchor
Issue no. 231 (Winter 2019)

They called her the Witch, the same as her mother; the Girl Witch when she first started trading in curses and cures, and then, when she wound up alone, the year of the landslide, simply the Witch. If she’d had another name, scrawled on some timeworn, worm-eaten piece of paper maybe, buried at the back of one of those wardrobes that the older crone crammed full of plastic bags and filthy rags, locks of hair, bones, rotten leftovers, if at some point she’d been given a first name and last name like everyone else in town, well, no one had ever known it, not even the women who visited the house each Friday had ever heard her called anything else.


Enrique Vila-Matas. Photo: © Olivier Roller.


Enrique Vila-Matas, The Art of Fiction No. 247
Issue no. 234 (Fall 2020)

That quality comes from some writers’ facility for what we might call perception, the art of perceiving what’s going to happen. It’s a skill, an art, that we see very acutely in Kafka, for example . . . Literature is a mirror with the capacity, like some clocks, to run ahead of time. But we mustn’t mistake perception for prophecy itself.


If you enjoyed the above, make sure to subscribe to this special bundle! In addition to a year’s worth of The Paris Review, you’ll receive Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming, by László Krasznahorkai; Hurricane Season, by Fernanda Melchor; and Mac’s Problem, by Enrique Vila-Matas—all for $99. Note: This offer is available only in the United States and Canada.