Sunday, August 1, 2010
The Sunday Question
Which book do you wish you’d written?
I was lucky enough to have attended Jon Clinch’s reading on Thursday. He’s quite the raconteur, and of course has written two amazing books, his much-touted debut Finn, and now Kings of the Earth, a gorgeously written story in the rural gothic vein -- think Faulkner in upstate New York. I’m just now reading the book, and every time I close it, I think “Damn, I wish I could write something as heart-wrenching and spare and funny and fine.”
Which gives rise to this week’s question: which book do you wish you’d written?
Diana says definitely Chekhov stories, because they are so timeless, so lasting. Who wouldn’t want their books to be studied for a hundred years and counting?
Kevin would claim Stephen King’s The Shining. “I’m thinking of the bank account,” says Kevin in his forthright fashion. But there’s also Stephen King’s amazing ability to create the most compelling characters and to access the dreams and horrors of the collective consciousness with such precision.
Marika’s answer was my favorite. She feels no need to claim anyone else’s work. She can’t wait to see what she herself will write.
For better or worse, I know what I write, and I’d still love to have written, oh, say, A.S. Byatt’s Possession, a tour de force that captured the Man Booker Prize. Not for the prizes and acclaim, although those things would be nice, but because Dame Antonia is so erudite, so bold. I admire no end her hutzpah in creating two famous nineteenth century poets, not only their world entire, their sensibilities, their curiosities, but also their poetry, and in the styles of Emily Dickinson and Robert Browning, no less. It helps that she is a Browning scholar, but still.
If you have a secret longing to have written Emma, or The Great Gatsby, or even Archie comics, let us know!