Lily Tuck – Reading With Imagination – NYTimes.com

Lily Tuck

…Fiction, which I believe suffers most from modern readership, is by definition not factual. It may be about the real world and it may try to illuminate some facts about the real world or how real people behave in it or, as is so often the case in modern literature, it may also be about the impossibility of portraying any such reality since the very nature of art is artifice. Primarily, however, fiction (and biography, essay, history, memoir only perhaps to a lesser degree) is a creative act, an act of the author’s imagination and likewise, ideally, it should be read with imagination.

In my own writing, I have been accused of (or is it praised for?) being a minimalist, which I suppose means that I don’t write a whole lot. This is true. For the most part, I avoid adjectives and I definitely avoid adverbs, which also means that I tend not to describe much. I rarely describe what my characters look like or what they wear or how they do their hair. My hope is that this will either not be important or if it is important it will somehow surface within the text. But better yet, by avoiding descriptions and explanations, I allow the reader the freedom to picture for themselves what my characters, their clothes and haircuts look like and thus participate in the text. In other words, I hope my readers will read my work with imagination…

Lily Tuck is the author of five novels, two short story collections and a biography; her forthcoming novel is “The Double Life of Liliane.”

via Reading With Imagination – NYTimes.com.

My personal favorite, and a novel told in dialogue, a late night conversation between two dames spiked with mordant wit: Interviewing Matisse, or The Woman Who Died Standing Up: A Novel by Lily Tuck

4 comments

  1. What in the world does this mean: “Fiction, which I believe suffers most from modern readership.” If she means that it suffers more than other genres, I feel a hammer in my stomach. I would say that poetry suffers the most. I understand that fiction suffers, but the most? Nah.

    • I think you’re probably right, her point being that people are reading now almost exclusively on their computers, which is what she terms “practical reading” and not literary reading, or reading that engages the imagination… And now I know where your reference to poetry is coming from… And well done you! Congratulations on the publication of Doll God!

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