Tuesday September 1st, 2009

Russo Chats

Richard Russo, one of my favorite writers, living or dead, talks to Cameron Martin about a variety of subjects, including his thoughts on book reviewing:

I don’t review that much, and for a reason. Even when a book truly sucks, I can’t get out of my mind the fact that some poor dumb schmuck labored over it lovingly, just as I do over my own fiction. I realize that it’s somebody’s job to blow the whistle on bad books, but I resist the notion that it’s mine. When I do review, I look for and attempt to articulate the work’s strengths before pouncing on its weaknesses. When there’s simply no good news, I try not to appear as if I’m enjoying myself in delivering the unpleasant verdict.

And for his fans, he offers good news about the future:

I don’t have anything left to prove, but I have a lot left to do. When I’m Philip Roth’s age, I hope to be still at it, and why not? The people who know me best think I’m as full of (it) as ever, and the world, when it isn’t bent on breaking our hearts, remains wildly entertaining, so there’s really no reason to stop reporting on what it’s up to.

Read the whole thing.