Jane Smiley once heard an author complaining to his editor that a critic hadn’t seen his book as a “Great American Novel,” “and those letters were capitalized in their way of talking about it.” Here is Smiley’s reaction to their conversation:
“I would never in a million years even want to be writing the Great American Novel. I would never want to squash all the competition like that. To me the promise of fiction is the promise that everyone gets to speak, that every voice is heard, and we listen to one, and we listen to the other, and we listen to the third, and that’s the glory of being a reader and being a writer.”
Jane Smiley, author of A Thousand Acres and other novels, in an interview with Mickey Pearlman in Listen to Their Voices: Twenty Interviews With Women Who Write (Houghton Mifflin, 1993). Pearlman speaks in book with well-known female writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry for children and adults, including Lucille Clifton, Gish Jen, Lois Lowry, Sue Miller, Sharon Olds, Grace Paley and Anne Rice.
© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.