Since The Paris Review was founded in 1953, it has given us invaluable conversations with the greatest writers of our age, vivid self-portraits that are themselves works of finely crafted literature. From William Faulkner's determination that a great novel takes "ninety-nine percent talent . . . ninety-nine percent discipline . . . ninety-nine percent work," to Gabriel García Márquez's observation that "in the first paragraph, you solve most of the problems with your book," The Paris Review has elicited revelatory and revealing thoughts from our most accomplished novelists, poets, and playwrights. With an introduction by Orhan Pamuk, this volume brings together another rich, varied crop of literary voices, including Toni Morrison, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Graham Greene, James Baldwin, Stephen King, Philip Larkin, Eudora Welty, and more. "A colossal literary event," as Gary Shteyngart put it, The Paris Review Interviews, II, is an indispensable treasury of wisdom from the world's literary masters.
Pity the young writer looking for advice today -- where to begin amid the sea of anecdote and legend? Jonathan Franzen concluded The Corrections by writing blindfolded. Hemingway typed standing up. John Updike keeps a 1,000-word-a-day regime. Doris Lessing solves plot problems in her sleep. Margaret Atwood writes most of her poems on the back of envelopes and stationery. Jack Kerouac did headstands to get the blood flowing. Voltaire wrote Candide in three days.