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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why I'm reading — and enjoying — the first volume of the Paris Review Interviews

"The Paris Review books should be given out at dinner parties, readings, riots, weddings, galas — shindigs of every shape. And they're perfect for the classroom too, from high schools all the way to MFA programmes. In fact, I run a whole semester-long creative writing class based on the interviews. How else would I get the world's greatest living writers, living and dead, to come into the classroom with their words of wisdom, folly, and fury? These books are wonderful, provocative, indispensible." — Colum McCann, novelist and Hunter College professor

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"I have all the copies of The Paris 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

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"At their best, the Paris Review interviews remove the veils of literary personae to reveal the flesh-and-blood writer at the source. By exposing the inner workings of writing, they place the reader in the driver's seat of literature." — Billy Collins

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"A colossal literary event — worth the price of admission for the Borges interview alone, and of course the Billy Wilder, and the Vonnegut, and and and and . . . Just buy this book and read it all." — Gary Shteyngart

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"The Paris Review interviews have the best questions, the best answers, and are, hands down, the best way to steal a look into the minds of the best writers (and interviewers) in the world. Reading them together is like getting a fabulous guided tour through literary life." — Susan Orlean 

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"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

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"Nothing is lonelier or riskier than being a writer, and these interviews provide writers at all stages the companionship and guidance they need." — Edmund White

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"The Paris Review interviews have always provided the best look into the minds and work ethics of great writers and when read together constitute the closest thing to an MFA that you can get while sitting alone on your couch. Every page of this collection affords a ludicrous amount of pleasure." — Dave Eggers
  • What is the Paris Review? To learn all about the literary magazine that was first published in 1953, go here.
  • UPDATE (JULY 24, 2013): The second volume of The Paris Review interviews was delivered by Amazon this evening. So much to read, so little time. Sigh.