Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mohsin Hamid interview

Jai Arjun Singh has a long but engrossing interview of the Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid, author most recently of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. The interview covers diverse topics but I found most interesting Hamid's comments on writing while holding a full-time, routine job:
"...literary novels require a certain kind of mindset – a thought process, a psychological make-up which tends to fit very poorly with the work-world. And the reason for this is that the mind best suited for the construction of very large and complex internal universes (which is how the literary novel is constructed), such a mind tends not to be particularly gregarious.
"And even if they are competent enough to deal with the regularity of the 9 to 6 job – or, as it’s now become worldwide, the 9 to 9 job – there’s another problem. The very process of drafting, revising, questioning everything that you’re presented with, which is what the literary writer does, means that when you step into a standard working environment, you recognise it as a ridiculous, arbitrary environment.

"And you say to yourself, 'I don’t want to do this, it’s ridiculous.' You reject it as being just a pawn in the system."

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