Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sterile & fertile writing

David Mitchell, British novelist, talks about his new novel-in-progress in an interview, special to the Japan Times

Somewhere between history and imagination

Writing a novel is full of stops and starts and paths not taken, or taken and then untaken, or paths best not taken but taken anyway. How the book ends up looking and how I might describe it now could be two very different beasties. I will say that my intention is to write a bicultural novel, where Japanese perspectives are given an equal weight to Dutch/European perspectives. It's the most demanding thing I've ever tried to do. The research is a trackless swamp, and the book wishes to be written in ways that historical novels are not usually written in. It feels as if I am having to invent its "cinematography" as I go along. On good days, it's an exhilarating ride; on bad days I crawl along feeling travel-sick and disconsolate and wishing I'd left university and got myself a proper job.

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