Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lev Grossman

Lev Grossman is the author of the bestselling Magicians trilogy.

From his Q & A with Laura Miller at Salon:

The Magicians trilogy takes two bodies of source material in children’s literature — the Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter books — and transfigures them by moving them into adult fiction, with an adult perspective on the world. What were you up to with that?

I thought of it as having a conversation. I believe Harold Bloom’s “Anxiety of Influence” theory about authors needing to define themselves through rebelling against a forerunner. In a weird way I really felt that I was talking to J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis and trying to tell them about how my life was different from the lives of their characters. I had to explain to C.S. Lewis how poorly I’d been prepared for some of the challenges of early middle age by my obsessive childhood rereading of the Chronicles of Narnia. There was nothing in there about quarterly estimated taxes and midlife depression. And really nothing useful in there at all about sex. I felt like I needed to say, “It’s wonderful what you did. I love it and I always will, but I have to tell you there are some gaps here and I’m going to try to fill them in.”

It really is like having a conversation with your parents. You love your parents, but they’re absolutely maddening and you despise them. It’s a both-and situation. One of the primal reading experiences of my life was “Watchmen” by Alan Moore, which was this utterly scathing demolition of the superhero story and all the conventions it stood on — and at the same time the greatest superhero story that had ever been written. So it is possible to write a critique and a loving homage at the same time in one work and that’s what...[read on]
The Magicians is on Joel Cunningham's list of eight great books for fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History.

The Page 69 Test: The Magicians.

--Marshal Zeringue