It slips inside the book in its own way because novelists each have their own way
of summoning it with their words, emotions, sensations, the things they know and
don't know, what they are and what others are; they summon what is, though ...
Author: Le Monde
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
At a recent literary conference hosted by Villa Gillet and "Le Monde," organizers asked seventy-seven prominent authors from around the world to choose a word that opens the door to their work. Their crystalline musings, collected here for the first time, offer an extraordinary portrait of writing and reading from the perspective of the artist. Organized alphabetically, the anthology is a pleasurable and instructive book for writers, readers, and anyone seeking an intimate understanding of literature. Through these personal "passwords," authors articulate the function of language, character, plot, and structure, and, in the process, reveal their relationship with the elements of story. Jonathan Lethem discusses the independent life of furniture; A. S. Byatt describes the power of the narrative web; Etgar Keret explains the importance of "balagan," a Hebrew word meaning "total chaos"; Daniel Mendelsohn expounds on the unknowable, or what the author should or should not impart to the reader; Annie Proulx clarifies "terroir," which embodies the complexities of time, place, geography, weather, and climate; and Colum McCann details the benefits of anonymity. Other participants include Rick Moody on adumbrated; Upamanyu Chatterjee on the bildungsroman; Enrique Vila-Matas on discipline; Adam Thirwell on hedonism; Nuruddin Farah on identities; Tariq Ali on laughter; Andre Brink on the heretic; Elif Shafak on the nomad; and PA(c)ter Esterhazy on the power and potential of words, words, words.