Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Much Sympathy for Zoë Heller’s Characters, but a Little Understanding
By PATRICIA COHEN writing in the New York Times, February 25, 2009

“It’s not always a good idea to see how your books are consumed,” Zoë Heller said after a recent online chat with readers about her new novel “The Believers,” which is due out Tuesday in the United States. “It’s kind of like seeing how sausage is made.”

Philip Greenberg for The New York Times
Zoë Heller, whose latest novel is due out next month, on a recent visit to New York.

Ms. Heller was a bit dismayed to learn that some readers found “there were no sympathetic characters,” that “they didn’t want to spend time with them,” or that they “were not inspiring in any way.”
That isn’t necessarily surprising. She is, after all, famously adept at depicting unpleasant characters like the obsessive English schoolteacher, Barbara Covett, in “What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal,” her 2003 novel that was later turned into a movie with Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. Ms. Heller, 43, prefers insight to amiability.
“I don’t write books for people to be friends with the characters,” Ms. Heller said as she tucked into a spartan brunch of a boiled egg and seven-grain toast. “If you want to find friends, go to a cocktail party.”
The full story here.

No comments: