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The Review’s interviews reviewed

By Harriet Staff

Since taking the helm of the Paris Review, editor Lorin Stein has made a number of changes at the storied publication. Here’s one we love: the archives of the Review’s renowned interview series are now available electronically. Compelling conversations with Hunter S. Thompson, Mary Karr, Philip Larkin, and many, many other writers, poets and academics are just a click away. In the New York Times, Dwight Garner gushes about the divine dialogue in these offbeat and insightful interviews:

These interviews — every issue has one, and sometimes two — are nearly always undertaken in person, by a Paris Review staffer or by a freelance writer. The best of them have always gone a bit off the rails. They’re so tangled, funny and unexpectedly revealing that they could be mounted on Broadway, in the style of “Frost/Nixon.” If you don’t believe me, spend some time with the rambling 1968 interview with a pill-popping Jack Kerouac, who by the end is so whacked-out that he asks his interlocutor, “Why is there a little white beard in your mortality belly?”

A few teasers:

Inside the Review archive, you find yourself poked awake by the moments that veer from the script. There are the casual put-downs. Evelyn Waugh: “I find Faulkner intolerably bad.” Rebecca West on Somerset Maugham: “He couldn’t write for toffee, bless his heart.” Philip Larkin on Jorge Luis Borges: “Who is Jorge Luis Borges?”

But Harriet already told you so! Check out excerpts from Paris Review interviews with Kay Ryan, Mary Karr and more here.

Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 by Harriet Staff.