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Finding connection in solitude Margaret Atwood & Mark Haddon



First into younger share with you is mark had author of the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime most recently the porpoise. He's talking about book. We published that. He contributed to stop what you're doing and read this. Which is an excellent but by the way is one of the books already as go as a bookseller in one of the books that made me want to really work vintage books and he talks about how he believes in the power of a good novel. A term he defines as a piece of work is humane and generous. I particularly found comfort in his description of reading as a compensation a reader and a writer sitting opposite each other. In each other's company I can write plays and films and even poems in which some of the characters are genuinely unsympathetic for which you and the reader feel no empathy partly because those forms are spectacle to a certain extent. You you can sit back and watch it from a distance but I think all novels A conversation I I tend to picture a novel as you. The writer and the reader sitting in adjacent chairs talking quietly to each other. You know a novel is never declaimed or acted out or overheard. It's it spoken quietly to the reader and of course a really long conversation and to make the long conversation work you've really got to you with a like the narrator. You're gonNA like the person who's talking to you. They can be taught or scathing satirical. But they've got to have an underlying warm both towards you and and towards the people they're talking about and I think you can see that. All great writers and Dickens in Jane Austen George Eliot in Tolstoy and in fact in Warren Pace. You can see where it doesn't work because when he does start declaim in those separate chapters about his theory of history he can lose you completely and it's one of the great novels in the world where no one reached the last chapter. Because he's just telling you stuff you don't really want to know. I think this is particularly true of Virginia Wolfe It's not just her warmth than her interest in the people she's talking about but the speed the ease with which she seems to flow in and out of different people's minds in and out of different consciousnesses in a very short period of time often around dining table in and out of the minds of people talking with with one another and I think the way in which she does. That makes you very aware of something about your own mind personally. I'm always reading Virginia Woolf and thinking Yes yes yes that's what it's actually like to be a human being not just that stream of consciousness stuff which she does so well the way you flick from memories of Childhood Your plans for dinner to the fear of death all within thirty seconds the way we move from sense of loneliness sudden empathy with people around us the way we feel sort of sealed in one moment and then suddenly we dissolve and we realized that we members of a group of people or we members of a family and a part of verse exists within all those other people in the room at the same time the way we move from our past to our future back into our president. I think there are other right to have a wide range of characters and a wide range of situations. By doting. There is anyone who understands articulates what it is like to be a person from one moment to the next so the other interview. I found interesting was one. The Margaret Atwood gave on stage all those years ago when she'd written novel taxied. If you don't know already exceed is retelling of Shakespeare's tempest in the interview. Margaret Talks about the theme of exile in tempest. And how she explores to have writing the contrast between freedom. I'm confinement. I know a lot of us feel like we're in a very strange very necessary. Exile from our normal lives in big. I'm small ways so I hope like me find this interview. Refreshing or at least a little comforting. Let me start by asking about the genesis of high exceed. Of course it's part of the hogarth Shakespeare series but why the tempest yes. Why the tempest Luckily I was early on the list of people who are asked so I got I got my druthers and that was my brother because I had thought about it quite a bit before. It even written about Prospero before in my book on writing which is called oddly. Enough a writer on writing it used to be called negotiating with the dead but I think the day word was a bridge too far for some people in the publishing industry. They don't like the D. Word. No no not always coming to say it does what it says on the tin it. Does I think what it says on the tin. So it's not about my writing and it's not about how to write about. Who are these writers? What do they think they're doing? And how are they different from other kinds of artists and The chapter in which Prospero of here's is a chapter on diabetes. Magicians because of course writers are dubious. Magicians they create illusions and are those illusions always benevolent. So that's what I what I was writing about in that book and one of the other ones in that chapter is the wizard of Oz. Who has he says is A good man but a bad magician he has no real magic. He's an illusionist. So what you need to ask about any writer probably is. Are they a good man but a bad magician or have bad man but a good magician? Which is often also true or possibly. They're good at both but Prospero in the tempest is very ambiguous. And therefore the he's been open to many different kinds of interpretations. It's also play with a lot of unanswered questions. And it is the one play above all in which Shakespeare is writing a play about what he actually did all his life. He's writing play about a director producer. Putting on a play with the aid of a very good special effects man called aerial. So that is what happens in the book and a director producer puts on a play by means of which he hopes to get revenge on the people who have done him dirt twelve years before them. Light on the setting. Because it's one thing. It seems to me to consider prosper on his magic in an essay. It's another to construct a whole story which you could read perfectly plausibly. I think without even knowing that the tempest existed I think it helps to know that the tempest exists and by the end of it. You're certainly going to know that the tempest exists. Because what they're putting are isn't is the tempest. So how did I come to all of that? The epilogue has always been very intriguing to me which Prospero's steps out of the play addresses the audience. But he's still prospero. He's not saying hello. I'm an actor playing Prospero. He is still prospero and that play is about guilt and forget and forgiveness and and and liberation because the last three words of it are set me free. But it's a bit puzzling in the epilogue of what is Prospero guilty. Why does he feel guilty? And from what is he being freed now that he's outside his own play

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