Friday, October 29, 2010

Cool interview...

...with "Winter's Bone" novelist Daniel Woodrell:

Dustin Atkinson: We mentioned Faulkner earlier. I’d like to ask you about a quote from a previous interview in which you said, "I like lean books as it is the bloat of a novel, all the essayic fat, that rots and becomes misshapen over time." All of your novels are very lean.

Daniel Woodrell: It’s just my natural aesthetic taste. So often you pick up a prize-winning novel of 1957 and you say, "There’s a good novel in here, somewhere," but they’ve had to add every detail and all that stuff has gone out of focus. It’s not very interesting anymore. We all know this now. It must have seemed fresher at the time. But I’m not given to much essay in my fiction anyway. And it’s true, I seldom read a book that’s four or five hundred pages long.

DA: So you don’t often read sprawling novels such as "War and Peace" or "Gravity’s Rainbow"?

DW: I give them a shot. I used to like a lot of writers who specialized in those. Hell, James Jones, even some of his are a thousand pages. But now, I’m cutting in my head as I go along. I hear a lot of writers say this, that they’re cutting in their head as they read. It’s almost a different sensibility. I have a writer friend who tends to write longer works. They always call it being more ambitious, which I resent, because sometimes those writers aren’t making the difficult decisions of what needs to be there and what doesn’t. That’s what makes writing hard. Leaving everything, letting the readers decide what’s good, those are the choices I want the artist to make.

UPDATE: Complete Woodrell short story in "Esquire."

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