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Passion and Craft: CONVERSATIONS WITH…
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Passion and Craft: CONVERSATIONS WITH NOTABLE WRITERS

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0252066871, Paperback)

These probing interviews with 12 contemporary writers--all masters of the short story--originally appeared in such places as The Literary Review and Contemporary Literature. There is no fluff here. "We have tried," say the editors, "to go beyond the usual chatting about career and craft, beyond the autobiographical as well." Instead, their goal involved "shedding light on some of the motives behind literary creativity." The questions they pose to the authors arise from an intimate familiarity with the work; the payoff for such preparedness is that the authors answer their questions deliberately and thoughtfully.

Certainly, the interviews also address less specific aspects of the authors' work. When asked if he could write from a female viewpoint, Richard Ford, considered to be a very male writer, replies in the affirmative: "I would never ... say to myself, 'What would a woman say?' Rather, I'd think, Given the circumstances of this person's life, what would this person say? Or do?" T. Coraghessan Boyle discusses the reasons he shies away from happy endings: "First of all, because they tend to be sentimental. But also because there aren't happy endings--we all die." Jayne Anne Phillips compares her unwritten fiction to "a whisper that you can't quite make out.... There's a sense that the book is already there, whole, and I am trying ... to find out what it is and move into it and inhabit it." And Thom Jones rails against the typical magazine short story. "Why do stories have to be boring?" he asks. "Why do we always have to read about some angst-laden, upper-level executive driving around Cape Cod in a Volvo?" --Jane Steinberg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:02 -0400)

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