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This week at The Paris Review, we’re redrafting, rewriting, and revising. Read on for Kenzaburo Oe’s Art of Fiction interview, Sigrid Nunez’s “The Blind,” Aaron Bulman’s poem “The Revision,” and Lydia Davis’s essay “Revising One Sentence.”
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Kenzaburo Oe, The Art of Fiction No. 195
Issue no. 183 (Winter 2007)
Many writers are obsessive about working in solitude, but the narrators in your books—who are writers—write and read while lying on the couch in the living room. Do you work amid your family?
I don’t need to be solitary to work. When I am writing novels and reading, I do not need to separate myself or be away from my family. Usually I work in my living room while Hikari listens to music. I can work with Hikari and my wife present because I revise many times. The novel is always incomplete, and I know I will revise it completely. When I’m writing the first draft I don’t have to write it by myself. When I’m revising, I already have a relationship with the text so I don’t have to be alone.
I have a study on the second floor, but it’s rare that I work there. The only time I work in there is when I’m finishing up a novel and need to concentrate—which is a nuisance to others.