A motley assortment of writers eloquently demonstrate that there is no single “writing process”; there are myriad.



Editors at Believer magazine present an eclectic series of interviews.

Some of the writers are household names—at least in the households of serious readers: Don DeLillo, Paula Fox, Maureen Howard, Will Self and Joan Didion among them. Others in the collection are known more to the literati or to small legions of zealous fans. But all have provocative things to say about writing, reading and readers, and most of the conversations are amiable, although Julie Hecht comes off as curmudgeonly and caustic at times. Several of the writers talk about their writing spaces and processes, and several say they write either longhand (Mary Gaitskill) or on a typewriter (Barry Hannah, Joy Williams). Virtually all of them reveal their biases and/or idiosyncrasies. Gary Lutz talks passionately about commas (he likes their precision); Chimomanda Ngoza Adichie points out the power of storytelling; Michael Ondaatje says he never thinks about an audience. Although most of the writers have nothing ill to say of their colleagues, Sarah Schulman zings Rick Moody and Jeffrey Eugenides (among others) but expresses gratitude to Grace Paley, Tillie Olsen and Edmund White for career help. In the whatever-happened-to category, Bruce Jay Friedman, now in his 80s, appears to wax wise and express gentle humility: “I’m really surprised by how little I know,” he says. A number of the authors complain about the demands of teaching and about the reluctance of writing students to read, and very few issue canned comments—though Mark Leyner’s “Fate is the primordial plot device” could qualify.

A motley assortment of writers eloquently demonstrate that there is no single “writing process”; there are myriad.

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-938073-25-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Believer Books/McSweeney's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?



An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet