Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Paul Murray Interview

Paul Murray was interviewed on FSG's website recently.   He had this to say (among other things)

I was working on the book for about seven years, and obviously in that time I had a lot of doubts about it and there were a lot of dark nights of the soul. But the jokes helped—I mean, when I was reading back over a section, and I’d come across a joke that still made me laugh, I’d think to myself, Well if nothing else, that joke is pretty funny. At the same time, it’s sort of weird when people come up and say they found the book funny, because it’s also really dark. You wonder if the other material escaped them, or . . . I think people do tend to pigeonhole novels as one thing or another. If there are jokes, it has to be a comedy. If there are dark elements, if it’s literary, then it can’t be funny.

I can't find the quote, but it reminds me of something David Foster Wallace said along those same lines.  Something about people either saying that Infinite Jest was really funny or it was really dark, but never really both.  Skippy Dies and Infinite Jest are very funny books, but also deeply, deeply sad.  And both novels also take place in private institutions of learning.. so there's that too.

The other bit of information in the interview is that Murray is working on a new novel and it has something to do with bankers.  I can't wait!

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