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Always Apprentices: The Believer Magazine Presents Twenty-Two Conversations Between Writersby Sheila Heti
Synopses & Reviews
"This enthralling collection contains 22 conversations between novelists, memoirists, poets, journalists, screenwriters, and combinations thereof about the craft of writing and the rewards (and torments) that it offers. The interviews, previously published in the Believer, tend to focus on idiosyncratic processes and each author's career trajectory, as well as on how authors understand their work and its relationship to the world. The 'conversations' here are more like interviews, with younger authors asking questions of established figures, including Mary Gaitskill, Michael Ondaatje, Victor LaValle, Pankaj Mishra, and Joan Didion. The book's piÃ¨ces de rÃ©sistance include a muted exchange between Bret Easton Ellis and Don DeLillo about their respective careers, a high-minded discussion between Aleksander Hemon and Colum McCann on the ethics of novel writing, and a dialogue between Alain Mabanckou and Dany LaferriÃ¨re on the emergence in literature of African and Caribbean voices. From the troubled state of literature and today's narrowly commercial publishing world to the exasperation of working with Hollywood, the interviews both inspire and charm with their blend of urgency and irony. Moreover, the conversations offer a degree of insight into the development of M.F.A. culture that rivals McGurl's The Program Era. Agent: The Wylie Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Always Apprentices collects five years of intimate, wide-ranging conversations with many of todays most prominent writers, taken from the pages of the Believer. The participants dont limit themselves to issues of writing and craft, but instead offer unfettered exchanges on a wide range of topics—from what it means to be a consumer to whether or not to kill a deer, from how we get to know each other to walking while inebriated. The interviews feature the serious-yet-casual Believer approach to the often staid interview format. For example, Sheila Heti asks Mary Gaitskill, If you go into a room or go to a party, is there a basic disposition you have toward humans going through the world?” Elsewhere, Colum McCann begins his conversation with Aleksandar Hemon by asking, What are we doing here? Why arent we in a pub?” Other interviews include Don DeLillo talking with Bret Easton Ellis; Joan Didion talking with Vendela Vida; and Barry Hannah talking with Wells Tower.
About the Author
Sheila Heti is the author of five books, including the "novel from life" How Should a Person Be? and The Chairs Are Where the People Go, co-authored with Misha Glouberman, which the New Yorker called "a triumph of conversational philosophy." She lives in Toronto.
Ross Simonini is a musician, writer, and artist living in New York. He has edited interviews at the Believer since 2007.
Vendela Vida co-founded the Believer in 2003. She is the author of four books, including the novels Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers.
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