Compromises? Hundreds. Drafts? Dozens. I suppose there are some modern-day Jane Austens who write finished polished prose in which only a word or two is changed here and there. I ain’t one of those writers. I’m a messy, untutored blunderer. I might have been left to my ways if it hadn’t been for the bizarre success of Life of Pi, which—among many other consequences—brought me to the attention of many fine, sharp-minded editors.
I’ve never really thought about why I write. I hate entertaining somebody with my writing. I like to see writers as thinkers, visionaries, futurists, social reformers, even activists — but never as entertainers. You write to entertain me, you lose my respect.
I want people who can make magic. That’s what the job at hand is. To take the elements of the language, to take these tarnished and exhausted entities, and to cause them to move in a way they’ve never moved otherwise. To imbue them with movement through the particular imposition of one’s will, one’s desire.
"Literature remains an unpredictable dialectic between the public and the private, the alien and the familiar, the individual and the collective; individual literary works may have elements of idiosyncrasy that may not always satisfy the conventions we have historically set up through social contracts that make the state, or those which evolve to define communities. Even so, literature exists in continuity with life, not in opposition to it.