Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nam Le, Author of The Boat

from the interview with Le,

This has concerned me. I wonder whether, as a writer who no longer reads that way, I’m analogous to a chef who no longer has any cravings, a comedian who listens to jokes and determines what’s funny and what’s not without ever doubling over and pissing himself. Look, I don’t accept the notion that books have become mere mirrors of my adult self, but nor can I claim to keep myself out of my reading. I read as I am: older, more self-aware, more solid and settled in my biases, more inclined to both judge and reserve judgment, and unavoidably—often despite myself—I read as a writer. The last thing I’d ever want to do is privilege this “adult” kind of reading over the kiddie kind, the same way we tend to privilege adult emotion—hopped with its subtleties and contradictions, its off-tones and opacities—over the clean full-strengthed spirit of youth. What, I worry, if first love is the strongest, purest love? What if first reading is the truest reading?


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