Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 62, John Cheever

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INTERVIEWER: I was reading the confessions of a novelist on writing novels: “If you want to be true to reality, start lying about it.” What do you think?

JOHN CHEEVER: Rubbish. For one thing the words “truth” and “reality” have no meaning at all unless they are fixed in a comprehensible frame of reference. There are no stubborn truths. As for lying, it seems to me that falsehood is a critical element in fiction. Part of the thrill of being told a story is the chance of being hoodwinked or taken. Nabokov is a master at this. The telling of lies is a sort of sleight of hand that displays our deepest feelings about life.

via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 62, John Cheever.


  1. Greatly indebted to you for introducing me to this marvelous series of interviews. All writers, it seems, are different. And all views are valid. This is what I believe. Still, I’ve always been fascinated to find that some of the very best writers hate each other and think the other is producing rubbish.

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