Maylis de Kerangal’s “The Heart” combines the language of science, philosophy, and pop culture to create a novel that defies categorization—and frustrates certain literary élites.
The best-selling author Lauren Groff on artistic narcissism, Véra Nabokov, and her winding road to success.
Five decades after trading paintbrushes for pens, the Irish novelist says writing fiction remains an enigma.
On Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and the sexual anxiety of the Lost Generation for The Paris Review
Anyone who spends a good deal of time writing knows that it is a lonely pursuit. Nearly every other job has at least some aspect of socializing to it — even other creative jobs: actors exchange dialogue; musicians are often in bands or at least collaborating on songwriting; even painters, sculptors, and drawers can be in the same studio together. For the writer though, solitude is perhaps the single most important requirement to success. Especially when writing something long — be it a novel, a play, or a screenplay — there are so many loose parts spinning about in the writer’s mind that even the din of a café can be too much. Time locked away in isolation is precious. And yet the causality between writing and loneliness is misunderstood. Writing does not breed loneliness so much as loneliness breeds writing. People do not start writing because they want to be lonely; they start writing because they are lonely. There is nothing more terrifying than being alone with your own thoughts, weighing your existence, letting your problems spring up like weeds …