A New Car!

in Helen DeWitt

if:book, a blog associated with The Institute for the Future of the Book, has published a lengthy and fascinating interview with Helen DeWitt.

I found this suggestion by DeWitt somewhat amusing:

I once knew a senior partner in a Wall Street firm who loved Susan Sontag’s The Volcano Lover. He talked at length about the wonderfulness of this book, the character of the Collector, the general brilliance. He was making $1 million or so a year. Of which Andrew Wylie, Sontag’s agent, had cleverly managed to garner a couple of bucks for Sontag. There was no structure in place to encourage this ardent fan to, say, sponsor Sontag’s travel expenses, offer Sontag six months’ writing time at his vacation home in Maine, buy Sontag a new car, who knows.

If after reading Pop Apocalypse you are so moved by my dystopian near-future satire that you feel inclined to give me a free car or six months rent-free stay in your second or third home, I will be more than happy to accept your generous offer. In thanks, I could even add you as a character in my next book!

Anyway, the rest of the interview covers a wide range of topics, from working with editors (DeWitt seems to have had some bad experiences) to how the Internet might change the eating/surviving situation of novelists to the perils of copy-editing.

The interview has gotten me thinking about possible second or third critical/scholarly books — or maybe just articles — that would be fun to do post-postirony. Like, something about novelists who blog. Or something on reading off screens. Or novels that attempt to incorporate/cannibalize Web-based literary forms. The possibilities abound.