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The Paris Review Interviews : Volume 1 by Philip Gourevitch

The Paris Review Interviews : Volume 1

Part of the The Paris Review Series
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January 2012 Guest Editor Simon Lelic selects The Paris Review Interviews , volumes I-IV...

Is it cheating to pick four books as one? This collection is not literature in itself but each volume, through interviews with leading writers collated over the years, offers an indispensable insight into the minds of those who forge it. A regular source of inspiration, consolation and distraction. My only criticism would relate to the selection of interviews included – or, rather, those that have been omitted. Fortunately, the entire archive is available online at – which should keep you going until they publish volume five.

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The Paris Review Interviews : Volume 1 by Philip Gourevitch

How do great writers do it? From James M Cain's hard-nosed observation that writing a novel is like working on foreign policy. There are problems to be solved. It's not all inspirational, to Joan Didion's account of how she composes a book - I constantly retype my own sentences. Every day I go back to page one and just retype what I have. It gets me into a rhythm. - The Paris Review has elicited some of the most revelatory and revealing thoughts from the literary masters of our age. For more than half a century, the magazine has spoken with most of our leading novelists, poets and playwrights, and the interviews themselves have come to be recognised as classic works of literature, an essential and definitive record of the writing life. Now, Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch introduces an entirely original selection of sixteen of the most celebrated interviews. Often startling, always engaging, these encounters contain an immense scope of intelligence, personality, experience and wit from the likes of Elizabeth Bishop, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Rebecca West and Billy Wilder. This is an indispensible book for all writers and readers.


'The Paris Review is one of the few truly essential literary magazines of the twentieth century--and now of the twenty-first. Frequently weird, always wonderful.' Margaret Atwood

'I have all the copies of the Review and like the interviews very much. They will make a good book when collected and that will be very good for the Review.' Ernest Hemingway

'I have been fascinated by the Paris Review interviews for as long as I can remember. Taken together, they form perhaps the finest available inquiry into the 'how of literature, in many ways a more interesting question than the 'why.' Salman Rushdie

About the Author

From the treasure trove of the archives, The Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch has selected twenty of the most essential interviews for the first of a three volume set. Here are Ernest Hemmingway, Truman Capote, Elizabeth Bishop, and many other novelists, poets, playwrights, memoirists speaking for the ages, with surprising candour, about all that matters most to them.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th January 2007


Philip Gourevitch

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Canongate Books Ltd


528 pages


Literary essays
Literary studies: general



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