(Image courtesy of Paris Review Archive - and no, it's not today's author.)
What a week it's been. Thousands of emails, some great quotes from writers and, above all, an excuse to visit the treasure trove that is The Paris Review archive. We hope you've enjoyed this as much as we have.
Before we begin the last giveaway, we'd like to acknowledge the generosity of Picador, without whom you'd have nothing to fight over. If you want to show your gratitude and suppor for their kindness, consider going out and buying these splendid books on your own - if you don't win today.
Which leads us to the business at hand. For the conclusion, we're going deep and obscure - no titles, no catch phrases. As our cycling coach says, you'll have to earn this one. Rules are here. Here we go:
INTERVIEWER If you had grown up in a country that was not politically oppressed, might you have become a more abstract writer?
AUTHOR: Maybe. Take a writer whom I admire tremendously, the greatest American short-story writer ever, Eudora Welty. In a strange way, if she had lived where I’ve lived, she might have turned these incredible gifts of hers more outward—she might have written more, she might have tackled wider subjects. I hesitate to say this, because what she’s done she’s done wonderfully. But the fact is that she hasn’t written very much; I don’t think she ever developed fully her gifts as a novelist. She was not forced by circumstance to come to grips with something different. And I don’t believe it’s just a matter of temperament, because my early writing had qualities similar to hers. I got to hate that word about my work—“sensitive.” I was constantly being compared to Katherine Mansfield. I am not by nature a political creature, and even now there is so much I don’t like in politics, and in political people—though I admire tremendously people who are politically active—there’s so much lying to oneself, self-deception, there has to be—you don’t make a good political fighter unless you can pretend the warts aren’t there.
Now, if you've enjoyed the cohesive theme of the week's posts, don't despair. Next week we have another special series to run that you will want to come back for. Jim Ruland traveled to Dublin to have tea with Benjamin Black and his four-part account will take center stage here, and yes, there will be a Benjamin Black giveaway at week's end. Until then ...
UPDATE: Hectic weekend, sorry for the unintended suspense. Congratulations to Anna Holmes and Jonathan Polk, who were among the many of you who correctly identified Nadine Gordimer. Again, thanks to Picado and special thanks to all of you for playing, especially the many patient among you who went five for five but did not get randomly selected. The Random Number Generator begs your forgiveness.