Large Books: A Peremptory Spiritual Quest?

Richard Powers: “I like your formulation: the largeness of the novel does depend in part upon a reader’s willingness to exercise largeness of spirit upon it. Readerly renarration involves the reader in retelling not only the printed story but also her own life’s story, in the presence of a story that did not originate with her. And I like, too, the idea that this active reader somehow recapitulates the similar, active rereading that the novel’s writer has performed on the writer’s historical moment The tale of the private life becomes a way of voicing the chaotic public sphere that did not yet even know it was a tale. But at the same time, I have balked, throughout my career, at the contemporary American aesthetic bias that decrees that the public narrative space can only be gotten to through a metaphorical correlation with the private story.”

This statement is particularly apt as I consider my feelings on Elliott Perlman’s Seven Types of Ambiguity, which I am almost done with and which I am strangely obsessed with reading, despite the book’s many problems. I’ll have more to say on this sensation once I get to the inevitable 75 Books update.

(via Wood S Lot)

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