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i am not a stuffed tiger.

zadie smith on bookworm

There's a really good interview with Zadie Smith on last week's Bookworm. This is hardly the best exchange, but it's the one that I decided to transcribe:
" ... all the arts you mention counter the idea that life is all about finding out who you are (which is a very popular idea at the moment, both in your country and mine), that the whole purpose of life is to pinpoint exactly what kind of a person you are.

Whereas great art to me, if i read a great piece of fiction what I'm being confronted with is exactly what is radically not me. And a consciousness of the world which is so far from my own, sometimes it's a shock. Reading extreme experimentalism, for instance, is the best example of being forced into a relation with the world that you never imagined. It's humbling, it's de-centering (which is another thing we don't like to happen to ourselves very often), and it forces you to recognize the big question of life for me and the big question of fiction, which is that do other people exist in the same way I do? It's so hard to believe that's true. You think you're the star of your own movie and there's the other people that are extras." [kcrw]


If you absolutely refuse to listen to the podcast, bOING bOING has another section quoted, about how she thinks about the practice of reading [bb]

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