Sunday, October 23, 2005


From Sarah Smith's review of Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire :

"The title is a question rather than a description: teenage Liir is trying to find out whether he is Elphaba's son...As we meet him at the beginning of the book, he is mid-journey through the ruinous land of Oz, searching not only for the family he needs, but for what it means to have a family. Maguire...knows that a family is a set of stories, not all of them pretty ones. The fairy-tale story works for a fairy-tale son. But if Liir is wicked Elphaba's son, finding his family may be finding his villainy."

One of my favorite passages from Michael Chabon's The Wonder Boys:

"Luckily for me an absolutely superb idea for a novel soon followed--three brothers in a haunted Pennsylvania small town are born, grow up, and die...I had to much to write: too many fine and miserable buildings to construct and streets to name and clock towers to set chiming, too many characters to raise up from the dirt like flowers whose petals I peeled down to the intricate frail organs within, too many terrible genetic and fiduciary secrets to dig up and bury and dig up again, too many divorces to grant, heirs to disinherit, trysts to arrange, letters to misdirect into evil hands, innocent children to slay with rheumatic fever, women to leave unfulfilled and hopeless, men to drive to adultery and theft, fires to ignite at the hearts of ancient houses. It was about a single family and it stood, as of that morning, at two thousand six hundred and eleven pages, each of them revised and rewritten a half dozen times...I was nowhere near the end."

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Pat Conroy

From an interview with Pat Conroy, in the collection "Writing for Your Life":

"Asked why his books make such entertaining movies, Conroy says, 'I always figure it's because I'm incredibly shallow. I write a straight story line, and I guess that's what they need. The dialogue also seems to be servicable in a Hollywood way. But most important, I do the thing that Southerners naturally do--I tell stories. I always try to make sure there's a good story going on in my books.'"