Elif Batuman on Crying, Taste, and Writing a Novel Called “The Idiot”
Part Two of Batuman's Conversation with Paul Holdengraber
In part two of their conversation, Elif Batuman and Paul Holdengraber discuss taste, aging and, of course, crying.
Elif Batuman on what she’s working on now…
The novel I’m working on now is called The Idiot. It’s a semi-autobiographical novel that I decided to call The Idiot. I’m hoping I don’t run into copyright problems.
Elif Batuman on being moved by writing…
Why does one thing move someone so much. You can be moved by something, and then someone can tell you all the reasons that it’s not so great, and you can see them all and understand them. It’s a problem I’m having with criticism a lot. Then, there’s this whole other dimension which is that the time that something reaches you is important. I think we’ve all had that moment where the right thing comes to you at the wrong time, and it means nothing to you. Then, it comes to you later, and it means everything, and you can’t even understand what it was that you didn’t see before. And I don’t know how… sometimes it feels like a miracle that anything gets through to us at all, when you think of all the things that have to line up.
Elif Batuman on the relationship between aging and taste…
There’s something about that first captivation with books, and I don’t know if it comes back in adulthood, or what exactly happens to it. I still get little glimpses of it but I don’t know how much that has to do with technology or just getting older.
I definitely still have that reading experience, which is a wonderful thing, which will last a few days or a week depending on long the book is, where I think, I cant wait to get home ad read this, whatever it is, I cant wait for the next installment. But then they don’t tend to stay with me or change my reality the way that things did when
I was younger. Which I guess is good because who can survive like that.