Friday, February 22, 2008

"I Like a Sentence To Be Interesting"

Book Cover: The Gathering

I was intrigued by a Washington Post book review/author profile for The Gathering. Bob Thompson's review, Anne Enright, 'Gathering' A Following: Man Booker Prize Winner Is On the Bright Side of Bleak (February 16, 2008) made me at least as curious about Anne Enright's thoughts on writing as I am about her novel.

One of the ways life has changed for Irish writer Anne Enright, who beat long odds last fall to win the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, is that loads of people now want to talk to her about her work -- specifically her winning novel, "The Gathering."

....A short woman of 45 with close-cropped dark hair, she is scrunched down in a chair in the offices of her American publisher, Grove/Atlantic. She's here as part of an extended post-Booker victory lap....The Booker goes to what its judges decide is the year's best novel by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland (Americans are not eligible). It can be transformative for a writer like Enright, whose work has tended to generate more praise than revenue.

It sounds like a fascinating book, one I'd like to read, but the words that really piqued my curiosity were these:

....[T]he upside of breaking down and recovering is that "you make your decisions. Are you going to live? How are you going to live?" In Enright's case, part of the answer was: "You're not going to waste your time working in television anymore. You're going to write your books. Even if they're no good, you're going to write them anyway."

....What's next? Enright, who says the post-Booker fuss has left her somewhat scattered, isn't sure she wants to say.

"I have sort of gone through two novels since 'The Gathering,'" she explains, meaning that she's walked through two ideas in her head to see if they might fly. In the past, she couldn't do this, and she still doesn't know if the process will really work, "because actually what happens is I write a sentence and then the sentence requires another sentence."

"And I like a sentence to be interesting. And I like a surprise. I like to go somewhere new."

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Good advice for a poet, too.