At Bookforum, Rebecca Donner talks with former Granta editor John Freeman about his new book of interviews, How to Read a Novelist. Freeman says that he enjoys interviewing writers in their homes because it allows him to observe them more closely: “The writer thinks you’re taking notes about what he’s saying, but you’re really writing, ‘His head looks like a lion’s head.’”
A couple months ago, I linked to a new Granta series in which authors select one of their own first sentences and recall how they came to it. This week, Patrick French explains the first sentence of a nonfiction piece titled “After the War” (available in Granta 125) by digging up an old photograph that shows how the Edwardian English were “stitched and machined into a grid of expectations.”
I sat down in the shrine grounds under the early-summer sun, and gazed around again at the surroundings, trying to get used to what I was seeing. Absorbing and accepting this scenery as naturally as I could, mentally and viscerally. Trying to remember how I was back then. But this was all going to take a long time, as you might imagine.
"The Book Club is not hip, but on Monday evening, I felt the bibliophilic glamour of a place, which, despite its age and sometime pokiness, is founded on the fundamentally sound principal that if you have three glasses of wine in a plastic cup and listen to something beautiful or see it, it can change the whole complexion of the world." On seeing two of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists.
Recommended: Ellah Alfrey on selecting Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.
During those hours, when schizophrenia speaks through him, my cousin also hears the sounds of Anathema, Dismember, Obituary, Dying Fetus, Napalm Death, Venom, Suicidal Tendencies, Bathory, Overkill, Sodom, Testament, Carcass, Cephalic Carnage, Kreator, Nuclear Assault, Voivod, Judas Priest, Helloween, Possessed, Morbid Angel, Exhumed, Enslaved, Massacre, Lamb of God, White Zombie, Dark Tranquility, Autopsy, Immolation, Extreme Noise Terror, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Darkthrone, Grave, Exodus, Necrophagia, Post Mortem, Decapitated, Sacramentum.
After waking us up to their favorite Brazilian novelists, the editorial board at Granta is turning its gaze to Norway. In the first issue of Norwegian Granta, you’ll find a slew of stories by illustrious contributors (among them Jennifer Egan, Roberto Bolano and Alice Munro) alongside new stories from authors native to the country. At Granta’s website, you can read an interview with the magazine’s online editor, Ted Hodgkinson.
During various periods of my life I have succumbed to the siren call of sleeping pills. It is hard to resist their promise: one tablet, and your night will be purged. Your brain may be in overdrive, its receptors working away, hungrily awaiting more images and information, but like a computer it is forced into another mode. Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone, seesawing between mid and shallow slumber, mind and body dulled but not of their own accord. I sleep, but it is nearly always a vacant, songless sleep, as if I were even more distanced than usual from the apparatus that generates dreams.