Friday July 16th, 2010

FSG’s New Look Behind the Curtain

eugenidesFSG has launched Work in Progress, a monthly feature (”an exhibition, a meet-and-greet, a freak show”) that takes a look behind the scenes at the venerable publisher. The first edition features items from FSG’s extensive Susan Sontag archive. (A 1963 list of potential blurbers for Sontag’s debut novel, The Benefactor, included Auden, Capote, Nabokov, and Paley. Aim high, I say.)

There’s also an interview with three book jacket designers, and an exchange between editor Jonathan Galassi and novelist Jeffrey Eugenides about Eugenides’ in-the-works follow-up to Middlesex. Near the end of the interview, Galassi asks if writing is fun for Eugenides. The reply, in part:

Chekhov said he wrote as easily as a bird sings. That would be nice. I’m like a bird who’s listened to all the other birds singing. Over there, in the next yard (very distant), are the songs I like. For a while I imitated them as best I could, until I figured out my own song, which I am now contentedly singing. Of course, what the bird doesn’t know (because it has a birdbrain) is that it isn’t just a matter of learning one song. You have to come up with a new song for every book. For now, I’ve got the song for this book. And that’s when it becomes fun.