February 25, 2010



So very much to appreciate and admire about this interview. First, the questions are actually about the novel itself, and the writer's aesthetic, not the writer's personal life. It's sad how rare that is. Second, I love how Banville is perfectly content to say he just makes shit up, in reference to the book's science. It's odd how many writers seem squeamish about that, when that's what they do for a living. Lastly, the discussion of Kleist. Kleist is one of the strangest and most wonderful writers of all time (sort of like a sane Robert Walser), yet he's tragically unknown in the US.

Good job all around.


Very, very clever. 'After lunch' is open-ended and thus, at 7:45pm, I am still sitting tight. But with some patience!


I read he uses greek gods as characters. sounds really interesting, I like it when writers put known fictional characters into new contexts.

Lindsey Petersen

Blaming "the kid" is always a good excuse!!! Kids should come first, and they are in no position to defend themselves. (I use that explanation ALL the time!!!)
Lindsey Petersen


I use children as an excuse all the time, and I don't have any. Imaginary scapegoats are always the best.

Also, it's sad to recall that one of Kleist's most famous short stories is "Erdbeben in Chile" or, "Earthquake in Chile".

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


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