How To Read A Novelist by John Freeman


There is a certain mystery surrounding authors, and the usual query in the reader’s mind is – how much of that narrative is autobiographical? Thus, when a book is titled, “How to Read a Novelist” and is also helpfully subtitled “Conversations with Writers”, I was tempted but wondered if I was ready for a glimpse into writers’ real lives.

Oh, how could I resist.

I flipped to the table of contents and it was a good list of contemporary writers that would be relevant to the average consciousness, including Haruki Murakami, John Irving, Dave Eggers, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie … I also ascertained that the author, a book critic, writes very engaging text following his interviews with the writers.

There are short pieces and there are some longer pieces. I always found John Irving fascinating, and was glad that he was interviewed here. I tend to find myself reading about Murakami so it was fine that the piece on him in this book was rather short. And of course, like every good book that manages to transport you / show you things that you may not otherwise have bothered with, I get inspired by some of the stories found here.

I really enjoyed the interview with Aleksandar Hemon.


Writers are fascinating, and I think there are nuggets of insight and narrative that would be useful to a curious reader.