John Freeman on Writers Asking Questions

What’s it like to eat sushi with David Foster Wallace? To have scones with Kazuo Ishiguro and get grilled by Louise Erdich? John Freeman knows all of these things, and now that he’s in the middle of his tour for How to Read a Novelist, we get to hear him talk about them with some of the very writers he’s profiled in his book. It’s a weird exercise—to turn the tables on the interviewer—and John’s written about the experience beautifully at The Paris Review Daily.

Here’s a peek:

After a month of these events, I realized the conventions of the interview deprive us of one thing a novelist does quite a bit, which is ask questions… A novelist’s quarry is people and relationships. What do they want to know? Putting a novelist in the interviewer’s shoes takes what is implicitly, hopefully elegantly, written into their work and makes it visible. So the unclassifiably brilliant British novelist Nicola Griffith wanted to know if I had thought of brain chemistry. And Robin Sloan mused about the ways my book resembled a data cloud.

Posted 11/06/13 Posted November 6, 2013