“If the author was an Eldest Oyster, agent or no agent, the author might have unilaterally proposed an alteration to the standard clause. But there are many, many, many, many young Oysters. There are many Walruses. There are many Carpenters.”—Helen DeWittcomments on the “epidemic of niceness” kerfuffle.
“In a novel, there is so much inner life. And when I read, I am deep in the world of the book, and not even thinking about its structure. I’m like an ant playing on a great piece of architecture.”—Leela Corman, interviewed by Edie Meidav for The Millions.
… when I read George Eliot, I read her for the descriptions of weather. Perhaps that’s the wrong way to read George Eliot, but how comforting, the way she describes light moving over trees and lying on a bench and somebody’s foot there … I think she has a much…
“She didn’t quite know how, though, as she hadn’t ever tried writing in the past. ‘I thought I could never write a proper book, I’d never done it before. But I thought I could write a sequence. Then I had a chapter. The next thing I knew I was turning acting down,’ she says. ‘I wanted to find out what happened. I don’t outline or anything, I don’t know whodunit … I really wanted to know what on earth happened to this guy, and the only way to find out was to write it.’ She tentatively sent the finished manuscript to an editor friend, to find out if she should ‘shove it under the bed or keep going’, and shortly afterwards ended up with a two-book deal. Then came the awards, the sales and the critical acclaim.”—Tana French, making this stuff look EASY
“Let’s not mince words: this is all deeply silly. And that, of course, is the point. On trial in Shandy are the masturbatory elements of scholarship; distractible humans and their whimsical hobbies; the proliferating literary phenomenon of “biographical freebooters;” and self-involved males who can argue (with a Voltairean antilogic) finer points of causality while, upstairs, poor Mrs. Shandy lies in excruciating, protracted labor. Few novels — even few early novels — have less believability in them. And yet Shandy, in all its digressive, distracted, ADD glory, captures something of life that narratives of linear focus rarely can.”—Ted Scheinman, “Tristram Shandy, Dilettante: Laurence Sterne and the Pleasures of Attention-Deficit Literature.”