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What About Tomorrow?>by Marcia Ann Gillespie
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INTERVIEWS BY AMY ARONSON
WORDS BY:
Susan Minot
Erika Lopez
Molly Peacock
Linda Hogan
Ana Castillo
Ruth Ozeki
A.M. Homes
Lara Stapleton
Pearl Abraham
Edwidge Danticat
Danzy Senna
Cecilia Tan
< author of The Romance Reader (Riverhead, 1996) and Giving Up America (Riverhead, 1999)>
Confining oneself to three books indicates a habit of depth rather than breadth--that you know a lot about a few things rather than a little about many, which is commendable. But so is monastic life, and I know that I wouldn't remain faithful for long.
My first book would be an imaginary anthology of essays, a collection I've held together in mind, if not in fact. The table of contents would include Joseph Conrad's prefaces, D.H. Lawrence's "Why the Novel Matters," Willa Cather's "The Novel DZmeublZ," Elizabeth Bowen's "Notes on Writing a Novel," and chapters from E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel. Some recent additions are Salman Rushdie's "Imaginary HomelandsÓ and parts of Rachel Brownstein's Becoming a Heroine: Reading About Women in Novels (Columbia University Press, 1994). These various pieces were written by writers who struggled with making art, and reading them is inspiring. The second book would be Nahman of Bratslav: The Tales (Paulist Press, 1988), translated by Arnold J. Band. Nahman was a founder of Hasidism and a rebel even within this revolutionary movement. Disturbed by the corruption that had set into the Hasidic community, he attempted to take the movement back to what the first founder, his grandfather, intended it to be: an ascetic, mystical lifestyle focused on the individual's relationship with herself or himself and God. Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (Harcourt, 1982) would be the third book because it breaks out of the traditional novelistic form and contains ten different novels. His work is structurally experimental and original. And he deals with issues of the relationship between reader and writer, how the reader's story gets in the way of the writer's, how our modern world is teeming with stories, which is a theme I'm thinking about for the novel and for the future.
 
 
 
           
     

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