Friday, May 28, 2010

Brian Evenson, On Reading

"When I was just a kid I remember my mother lying on the couch reading Agatha Christie novels. Often she'd fall so deeply into her book that she wouldn't respond when I spoke to her, wasn't even quite aware that I was there. Seeing that made me think of books as something with a hypnotic, almost mystical power.

A good, well-written book, whatever its genre, is capable of erasing the world, and of making the world feel as if it's been changed by the time you return to it. In my process of reading (and of writing) that act of effacing or erasing or blotting out the world is always present, as is the sense of estranged return. I'm not sure how I can simultaneously fall into a book and still admire and enjoy what it's doing with syntax and language, but somehow it happens. And it happens more completely for me with books than with any other activity."

Brian Evenson is the author of ten books of fiction, most recently the limited edition novella Baby Leg, published by New York Tyrant Press in 2009. In 2009 he also published the novel Last Days (which won the American Library Association's award for Best Horror Novel of 2009), and the story collection Fugue State, both of which were on Time Out New York's top books of 2009. His novel, The Open Curtain (Coffee House Press), was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an IHG Award. He is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize as well as an NEA fellowship. Visit his website here for more information.}