Notes on Literature: The Fictioneer as Essayist

I’m a great fan of Italo Calvino’s collection of essays Why Read the Classics? However, his Invisible Cities, along with If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller and Cosmicomics, are some of the books that I keep meaning to get to, but never quite do. There is something to be said of great writers, particularly the intellectually playful ones like Calvino, Borges, Pamuk, Eco et al, trying their hands at non-fiction and, in particular, essays. Having mastered the art of fiction, their non-fiction seems to take on a magical quality. They seem to become lighter, livelier, even entertaining. This isn’t to belittle their fiction. If anything, the essays bolster the enjoyment that their fiction is capable of providing. I’ve often wondered, for instance, what a non-fiction collection by David Mitchell would look like. The author of Cloud Atlas and the subject of this lively interview published in The Hindu Lit Review must surely be capable of providing dazzling insights into literary fiction.

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One Response to Notes on Literature: The Fictioneer as Essayist

  1. Love this, and I couldn’t agree more. Pamuk and Calvino’s non-fiction is brilliant (same to be said for the others as well). Thanks for sharing! If you’re ever interested in some other awesome book reviews and musings, be sure to follow! Thanks!

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