“Werner isn’t surprised to pass the entrance exams easily. He’s more nonplused to find his head measured with calipers and his hair whiter than any of the 60-odd shades of blond on the examiners’ charts. It goes without saying that his eyes are also rated for their shade of blue.” Janet Maslin reviews Anthony Doerr’s new novel.
Is there anything distinctive or unusual about your work space? Besides the obvious, what do you keep on your desk? What is the view from your favorite work space?
I work, by choice, in a hideous unfurnished basement “office” not far from the washer-drier. The walls are unpainted concrete. There’s a window above the desk that admits ground-level light. Sometimes a neighborhood cat, a calico, wanders by and peers in. The office itself is dismal, contiguous dusty crowded surfaces piled with slumping hills of books, file folders, the whole of it thoroughly disorganized. I’m always searching for a “document” I can’t find. Visitors are appalled, but I like it. Also, it’s poorly insulated. I’m content to freeze in winter and broil in summer. Physical discomfort concentrates the mind.
An interview with Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review