Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:28
Mention worthy: Publishers Weekly (PW) posed a question to Claire Messud in a recent interview that roused a remarkable response. So remarkable, it's worth reporting on here.
The question concerned the heroine in Messud's new book, The Woman Upstairs.
PW said: "I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim."
Messud Responds . . .For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert?
Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath?
...Any of the characters in The Corrections?
...Any of the characters in Infinite Jest?
...Any of the characters in anything Pynchon has ever written?
...Or Martin Amis?
...Or Orhan Pamuk?
...Or Alice Munro, for that matter?"
If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities. The relevant question isn’t “is this a potential friend for me?” but “is this character alive?"
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