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"You can get away with a lot more writing nonfiction (I’m not talking lies as has been the trend but attitude) than you can writing fiction. In a work of rhetoric you can take a stand, make a case, inform and inspire, scream and demean. You can’t be angry in fiction -- it’s all about control. You create worlds in order to accept them. You create worlds open to interpretation. Facts have limitations."
"The Baltimore as I remember it in the past lended itself to storytelling. You had all these neighborhoods and these neighborhoods were enclaves. And in the minds of children, their imaginations run wild because they have no rules. And neighborhoods north of Pulaski become mythological to you. It becomes like orcs or goblins or superheroes. In your mind, that’s how you see it. It’s that ferocious, that fearsome. Baltimore was huge. It was gigantic. It was super-real what would happen over there because you had no other experience to measure it against. Everything feels gigantic. Everything feels epic."
Alex responded to questions posed in English that, for instance, asked him to describe or to count objects. Significantly, the key questions were novel, assuring that answers were not memorized ones or offered by rote. This too is captured on film: When presented with a tray full of objects of varies shapes and colors, Alex was asked “How many blue block?” He responds accurately: “four.” When Irene held up two keys, one large and green, the other smaller and gold, Alex correctly answered questions like, “What color bigger?” (Answer: “Green.”)
Barbara J. King
"In the case of Liberation, I had a pretty clear initial idea of where I wanted the plot to go. But when I started writing about the characters and got to know them better, I realized that some of them, at least, would never go along with what I had in mind for them, and I liked them too much at that point to lobotomize them and make them do my bidding. At first it seemed like that meant that the book was just going to fly apart at the seams and I might as well quit while I was ahead and move on the next book idea. It’s probably telling that when people ask me to describe it, I’ve settled on the standard line that it’s a heist movie written in the style of a hippie novel that happens to be about the collapse of the U.S. economy and the resurgence of slavery, except that it’s also hopefully kind of funny."
Geoffrey H. Goodwin
"I started to resent the turbaned Beaver and the sleazy, furry-toothed Sartre. Deciphering Simone’s work, from her solipsistic early novel through her philosophical breakthroughs, is one thing. Weeding through her interminable autobiographies, journals, and letters (some of which are packed to the gills with lies), and reading them in the context of Sartre’s work, Sartre’s legacy, Sartre’s letters, and the gazillion biographies written about both members of existentialism’s first couple is quite another. It is the most boring literary striptease, ever."
"Even the foreign lit that does get translated and published doesn't get a lot of attention. As a new bookstore owner trying to make his way in the world of chains and Amazon, I see that vacuum as an opportunity. The great indie stores, in my opinion, are not homier versions of chain stores but rather places with great stuff on the tables that you don't see anywhere else. Even though there should be more of it, there is so much great literature in translation available here that you almost never hear about -- and more all the time thanks to small presses like Archipelago, NYRB, New Directions, Dalkey and Europa. It needs to be brought to people's attention and promoted but that's what independent stores do best."
"William Maxwell used to say about Illinois that it was his 'imagination’s home.' There is something about the Midwest that I’ve tried to get into my stories: the odd politeness of the people here, their secretiveness, their wish to do good. But The Soul Thief is largely set in Los Angeles and Buffalo -- not really the deep Midwest. I wanted to go from a locale where things were once made, to a locale where images are manufactured and mass-marketed."