The ‘best living American novelist’ on her mid-life crisis

What sensible person has not fantasised about spending three years of her life reading 100 novels? It’s an imagining of almost unbearable beauty, that sinking, waking dream of leaving this world and entering it again and again through other minds, re-emerging at the end of it all as a better person, or at least a person with a broader view of the world.

It’s also a project of almost incomprehensible self-indulgence for anybody with a serious job, to which they are enslaved by that most modern of masters, productivity. Few proper novelists alive today are more serious and more productive than Jane Smiley, who has written nearly 30 books and who won the Pulitzer Prize for her astonishing King Lear-inspired 1991 novel A Thousand Acres, and who has been described variously as “America’s Tolstoy” and as having “started to look like the best living American novelist”.

Escerpt from Greg Bruce’s article in the NZ Herald- read more


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