Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I Did An Interview

It’s here, at Jewcy.

I warned them in advance that my name notwithstanding I am not in fact Jewish (named after Tolstoy, mother is Anglican, etc.) but they were not daunted by this, so off we went. We met at Berry Park, which is this great bar in post-industrial Greenpoint — if you sit on the roof it’s like you’re looking out at a world that ended 50 years ago. Especially after a couple of pints on an empty stomach.

Anyway we had a great conversation. I think a lot of my critical preoccupations come out in it. And by the end I’m almost still speaking in complete sentences.

That is all my news. I’m on leave from Time right now, bashing out the sequel to The Magicians. It’s due fairly soon. Actually if you read my contract really closely, as some “lawyers” might be inclined to do, it’s due tomorrow.

I won’t make that deadline. But I’ll have a draft within the month. This I swear.

One of the secondary effects of this is that I will become even more crap at answering e-mail than I already was. It really, really weighs on me that I don’t answer all my e-mail. I just can’t. If I did I would do nothing but answer e-mail. But because I’m greedy I still read it all, and am totally grateful for it.

23 comments on “I Did An Interview

  1. Nicholas D. says:

    Good luck, Lev! Excellent interview on Jewcy.



  2. Kat says:

    I think we’re both glad that relapsed and atoning former law professors don’t count as lawyers.

    Good luck. I have an immense amount of faith in your writing.

  3. Nadia says:

    “On some level, he’s trying to break off a larger piece of the world than any other writer I can think of… But it somehow carves out a smaller slice of the world than what Franzen does in The Corrections or Freedom. Franzen doesn’t write domestic novels, or novels about economic catastrophe, or financial malfeasance, or sexual eccentricity. His novels are about all of those things at once.”
    May I ask…how much room does this conception of ambition leave for acknowledging the aspirations of works like ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘ The Scarlett Letter’? These two novels found symbols for important and substantial ideas that have spoken to generations. Fitzgerald’s green light speaks to the lifestyles we hope for and what the ideal of the American dream inspires in people. Hawthorne’s red ‘A’ embodies the search for identity in a community. They speak to big social/cultural ideals. I think it takes very high aspirations to come up with symbols for ideas that big. What about that kind of ambition?

  4. Leverus says:

    I don’t think I’m foreclosing on those kinds of aspirations. I’m in deep trouble if I am!

    But it’s true that Franzen’s books don’t loom large in the symbolic dimension. His action takes place in a much more literal realm. He’s not a big coiner of universal/generational symbols.

    (the exception perhaps being the salmon down Chip’s pants.)

    On the other hand I think the power of Fitzgerald’s and Hawthorne’s symbols comes partly from the way they’re embedded in a Franzenian matrix of social/economic realities. Food for thought.

  5. M says:

    when i read these things, i always wonder if they’ve been edited before published….the things that one say always come out more coherent and insightful than one thinks..

    since usually interviews are recorded for accuracy…

    but now i know, i do enjoy interviews with a few good swear words thrown in

    actually many, which is even better

  6. M says:


    read this article and thought bout “ambition” well not thought about, more like they pointed it at me with a giant red arrow

  7. ab says:

    Ҡeep oon working, great job!

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