Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NPR Interview with Michael Chabon

I heard an interview on NPR with Michael Chabon. This is what caught my attention:

On constructing a sentence

"Sentences are the purest, simplest, most pleasurable part of writing for me. And it's the part that comes the easiest to me. It is frequently the case that I, as I am sitting and writing ... the harbinger of the sentence kind of begins to occur to me in a sort of empty, rhythmic form that has no real meaning yet ... And, you know, instantaneously afterwords, the sense of the sentence fills in that empty vessel and I'm just struggling to kind of keep up with it and get it down. But there are plenty of other times where I am just really working and working and working and working and ... I trample on that initial, beautiful, mystical sentence that emerged ... and I have to try to keep fixing it and tinkering with it. And, you know, I love that aspect of it: the shaping of sentences, the crafting of sentences, that's the fun part of writing for me."

I am currently reading his 2007 book The Yiddish Policemen's Union and am finding myself "over my head". The blurb on the book cover "At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption,....."

Just did some googling and found this on wikipedia

The Yiddish Policemen's Union is set in an alternative history version of the present day. The premise is that, contrary to real history, the United States voted to implement the 1940 Slattery Report, that recommended the provision of land in Alaska for the temporary refugee settlement of European Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. The novel's divergence point from real history is revealed in the first dozen chapters to be the death of Anthony Dimond, Alaska Territory delegate to the U.S. Congress, in a car accident; Dimond was one of the congressmen responsible for preventing a vote on the report. It imagines a temporary independent Jewish settlement being created on the Alaskan coast. As a result, two million Jews are killed in the Holocaust,[1] instead of the six million in reality.

Maybe now it will make more sense because for the first 82 pages I kept thinking I never knew this. Still struggling with some of the yiddish words....makes all that teaching about context clues come home to roost.

No comments: