June 1, 2013
“Choose the best writers to improve your craft.” You’ve heard this a thousand times. It works. But finding the ones that actually teach you is something else again.
I’m reading Philip Roth and I’m learning more than I have ever learned from any other writer. And I’ve read the best.
I’m suggesting that you read him. So far, I’ve read two, and am starting my third. Study American Pastoral for Roth’s use of time, of switching back and forth, and yet relentlessly moving forward. In a novel the grand size of this one, it's feat. I am imagining that he studies a paper version and actually cuts and pastes as we used to do before computers. Is it possible that he does it all in his mind?
In his novella Nemesis, you watch the singular driving force of the short story, which expands out with a colossal elevation. The usual short story or novella comes to a quick surprising end. But this conclusion arrives at—glory.