Saturday 10 December 2016

Playing it Straight

I think it is important for the writer to take chances. To write with a very high degree of detachment ... it doesn't seem to me that one is playing it straight.
Christian Science Monitor, 1 March 1985 (Link)

This is a curiosity - a minor interview, conducted over the phone, with a journalist from the Christian Science Monitor, of all unlikely things. Brookner's tone is genial, indulgent, ironic. She had no truck with religion, knew Jesus didn't want her for a sunbeam. But the interviewer is duly seduced. 'Anita Brookner ... clearly works hard to put the best of herself into her fiction,' we are told - 'producing ... highly finished creations. Yet, remarkably, the unrehearsed, quotidian, "real life" Anita Brookner is as charming, poised, and gallant as her art.'

I believe rather - and I know I am not alone in this - that Brookner's interview persona was anything but unrehearsed. To adapt Samuel Johnson's thoughts on the eighteenth-century familiar letter, a Brookner interview is a 'calm and deliberate performance, in the cool of leisure'.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Questions and comments are always welcome. (Please note: there will be a short delay before publication, as comments are moderated.)