Possibilities of Fiction

Robert Alford’s article at Pop Matters is a conversation with Jennifer Egan.  He asks several questions that are worth asking and gets responses worth reading.  Here’s one question, about the form of fiction, to whet your interest in the interview:

You use a variety of narrative perspectives, shifting tenses, styles and even a power point presentation to present the stories in A Visit from the Goon Squad. Is the book in some way a comment on the aesthetic form of fiction itself and all of the various things that it can accomplish?

I didn’t think of it that way. The way I imagined it was just — if I’m writing this in parts, why not get the maximum advantage from that that I can? In other words, why not create a much bigger range of experience than I could possibly get away with in a more centrally oriented novel? Maybe I’m saying the same thing in a different way though, because in some ways it is a celebration of all these possibilities, and I do feel that way about fiction. One of the things that’s so great about it is its flexibility. That’s why I sometimes do feel impatient with the question of whether it’s a novel or a story collection. I feel like, who cares about those names? Aren’t they only there to serve us, and if they’re not doing that job, then let’s put them to the side for a moment. I do feel energized by the many things that fiction can do and has done from the very beginning. If you look at the early novels, they’re these really exciting, elastic grab bags of possibilities.

To finish reading Robert’s article, click here.

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