Over at BOMB I’ve interviewed Tim Parks on his new book, Where I’m Reading From. This is a collection of edited, arranged blog posts he did for the NYR Blog. So all of the material is online, but I think it gains a great deal by reading it as Parks has arranged it, as well as reading it in print versus on a screen. Reading these sequentially, you get much more of a sense of an argument taking hold, and you begin to pick up a lot more on the was the pieces all resonate with one another.
Parks is talking about a few different things here. One would be the rise of the “globalized” novel, that beast which translates more easily, fits into a variety of contexts, and tends to win the big global prizes. He’s also very interested in what the Western novel as a form has left to do, and what sorts of new things are still possible within it. This book is also personal, charting Parks’s development as a reader and a writer (and a translator). And, it’s also interested in the ways people are reading now and what is motivating them to pick up certain books and not others.
There are a number of other threads that work their way throughout the book. Agree or disagree, I found each of the columns quite stimulating, and I do think Parks is asking the right questions as regards the form fiction takes these days, what it does, and where it is headed. I’d highly recommend it for anyone interested in these sorts of questions.