Dark Coast goes after titles that are seriously inventive and adhere to the responsibilities of the craft that make books both readable and works of art. If one part of that equation is off a project feels imbalanced. A book that is too experimental isn’t palatable or interesting for a wide range of readers. And books that depend on generic language and simplistic devices bore us to death. The genius is there when those tendencies of both form and content, tone and structure, meaning and delivery, all come together at once.
Avoid distractions. This is to cast a wide net since what counts as a distraction is pretty much everything except the writer’s own sensibility. But this is not selfishness in any obvious way. The writer’s self is the lens through which they have to see. You are looking within yourself, then outward. If you skip the first part and just look outward, then you’re not going to be an artist.
It takes a good writer to make me like characters, but an even better one to make me hate them. Franzen hates people, so he shows their bad sides, in spades, Dee does the same, and that’s not a knock, just hard to watch. This is a tricky novel, one part delectable, the other, well, as the saying goes, show me a supermodel, and I’ll show you a guy who is tired of sleeping with her.
When I truly fell in love with a writer I was in a beat up convertible 1970 VW Bug, primer gray, my sister’s boyfriend’s prize possession. It was the summer of 1978 and the writer was not a novelist, or a short story writer, or a poet. Not technically. Though his words resonated with more life and romance and tragedy and pain and moodiness than anything I’d ever read.
At this point the subscribers of The New Yorker are reading and enjoying the different stories which appear in the magazine from the well known 20 Under 40 list, that essentially (or so it seems) has defined a generation of writers, at least those recognized by The New Yorker.
We didn’t know the first thing about the publishing industry. But I thought books could use a little more design. Jonathan brought important things to the table like spelling and grammar, so it ended up being a good match. I sold my car, a ’68 Volvo, to fund the start up. And though I miss it, I have to say: it has been worth it.