Pathos, swallows, Hölderlin: a sense of the everyday and its interruptions guide the Austrian writer’s “tender prose.”
The writer of The Job of the Wasp on horror, human evil, and writing long sentences.
The novelists on Vietnam, Norman Mailer, and the dragon’s perspective.
The artist talks about the genesis, composition, and execution of a recently completed work.
“To credibly present ecstasy, pure ecstasy, is incredibly difficult. Once upon a time this wasn’t the case. This is what capitalism has done to us all—rendered earnestness—a thing of suspicion and contempt.”
“I don’t consider anything about my writing to be natural.”
Ives discusses chasing false lures, testing the limits of relationships, and what’s been cut from her novel Impossible Views of the World.
“I originally published this in 2007 thinking, Oh this is a fine book, but I will be joined by a whole lot of amputee writers, and they are going to be here any minute. I’m still waiting.”
“There’s often a gap between what we’re trying to say and what we are able to say. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I fail. Sometimes it’s painful and sometimes I get into that space where it feels right. That’s the high.”
“Literature is a way of establishing the humanness of others. It’s interested in the relationships between people, between authenticity and truth. That in itself has to make us better disposed to each other.”
“What do you do when you’re born—without your consent—and you find out later that your life was at the cost of someone else’s? That’s how high the stakes can be.”
“I admire my characters for their ability to do something that I would find far too embarrassing to do myself. Fiction can get us to experience what we might do if we were braver. Or dumber.”
“Comedy is a great vehicle for spreading the bad news about who we are. It’s also a mercy killing of the resistance that springs up whenever we’re forced to look at ourselves.”
Historical analogies between the Civil War period and our own time are plentiful in a conversation about the author’s much-anticipated first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
Ghost stories, paganism, the blues, and silent cinema are just some of the fixations of two authors known for novels steeped in history.
Body swapping, infinite loops, and ’70s conspiracy thrillers haunt the dynamic performances of a movie-loving artist and the actors he works with.
Several years ago, I began reading books about how to write books.