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Paperback Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews Book

ISBN: 0140117903

ISBN13: 9780140117905

Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Sixteen of the world's great women writers speak about their work, their colleagues, and their lives. For More Than Forty Years, the acclaimed Paris Review interviews have been collected in the Writers at Work series. The Modern Library relaunches the series with the first of its specialized collections -- interviews with sixteen women novelists, poets, and playwrights, all offering rich commentary on the art of writing and on the opportunities and...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Nectar and Wormwood

Most readers will first of all be most drawn to the photographs of the sixteen women writers interviewed in The Paris Review's Women Writers at Work. But there are other visual clues to the personalities of the women whose words we are about to read, including a swift evocation of the writer in her lair--her view, her books, her style, her looks--along with a page from a work-in-progress, often heavily annotated. Rebecca West's page is decorated with line after line of a script so microscopic it looks like miniature embroidery while Anne Sexton's poem is uncorrected and drifts definitely eastward. The manuscript page submitted by P.L. Travers has a drawing of a snail posed against a beach of text while Elizabeth Bishop's page looks untidy and musical. Mary McCarthy's page, on the other hand, has been typewritten, and of its five corrections, three have been typed in, with the consequence that we are given very little sense of how she works when she's alone and feeling spontaneous. And yet the interview with McCarthy is marvellously opinionated and candid; she also gives an intriguing answer to the interviewer who asks her what she thinks of the category "woman writer" by first defining a certain kind of "woman writer" (WW, as she puts it): "I think they become interested in decor. You notice the change in Elizabeth Bowen. Her early work in much more masculine. Her later work has much more drapery in it." And so it's with apologies to Mary McCarthy that this reviewer is going to do what the WW's do and describe--in the present tense although many of the writers are now dead--some of the living arrangement of several of the writers in Women Writers at Work: P.L. Travers' front door is pink, the same pink as the cover of Mary Poppins at Cherry Tree Lane, and in her hallway there's an antique rocking horse. In Rebecca West's hallway there a drawing of her by Wyndham Lewis, done in the thirties. ("Before the ruin.") Toni Morrison's office at Princeton is decorated with a large Helen Frankenthaler print, pen-and-ink drawings that an architect did of all the houses that appear in Morrison's work, a few framed book-jacket covers and a note of apology from Hemingway, a forgery meant as a joke. Susan Sontag lives in a nearly unfurnished apartment in Manhattan, but she is the owner of over 15,000 books. Eudora Welty will not discuss her private life and is, in any case, interviewed in a hotel room. And Maya Angelou can only work in hotel rooms; she insists that the staff take down all the pictures and she will not permit the maids to come in to change the pillow cases and sheets. Are any of these writers poor? They don't seem to be. With the possible exception of Dorothy Parker who says, "I hate almost all rich people, but I think I would be darling at it." Parker also shares a small New York City apartment with a youthful poodle that has the run of the place and has caused it to look, as she apologetically says, "somewhat Hogarthian." In their opinio

A Must-Read for All Women and/or Writers!

Most definitely needs more stars! If you read (have read) or admire any of the sixteen writers profiled in this awesome book, then this little jewel will not disappoint you in the least. It's enlightening, inspiring, encouraging and instructive; a voyeuristic peek into the minds and writing habits of some of the best women writers of our generation. I loved what Anne Sexton told the interviewer when asked if she had any advice to young poets. She said, "Put your ear close down to your soul and listen hard." The writers interviewed are: Dorothy Parker, Marianne Moore, Maya Angelou, Susan Sontag, Anne Sexton, Katherine Anne Porter, Simone de Beauvoir, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Joan Didion, P.L. Travers, Eudora Welty, Rebecca West, Elizabeth Bishop and Mary McCarthy.

This is a first-rate book.

This book of interviews with women writers, originally done for the Paris Review, is the finest book I have ever encountered on women writing or doing any committed creative work. There's really nothing like it out there. It is a prize in itself.
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