Wednesday, July 22, 2015

E.L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow's last novel is Andrew's Brain.

From the author's 2014 interview with Scott Simon:

SIMON: Your protagonist, Andrew, is a cognitive scientist. Now, this doesn't seem to be the same thing as trying to write a novel from the mind of a man who is a bus driver. How do you write convincingly from inside the mind and skin of a cognitive scientist?

DOCTOROW: The ideal way to get involved in this sort of work is to write in order to find out what you're writing. You don't start with an outline and a plan, you start from these images that are very evocative to you. And in this case, it's the first line in the book, where's Andrew's saying I can tell you what I'm about to tell you, but it's not pretty. And suddenly you find yourself with your character. And it occurs to you that he's a cognitive scientist. I don't know why, but it just does. The book is constructed as someone mostly talking and someone mostly listening - sort of like radio. And he's talking to someone who might be a shrink or some sort of questioner, and telling the story of how he's got into this mess.

SIMON: You are so celebrated for best-selling historical novels - and there is some gripping history here in the scenes following September 11th, but why did you want to try to this forum?

DOCTOROW: Well, I know some people think of me as a historical novelist. I don't agree with that. I think all novels are...[read on or listen to the interview]
--Marshal Zeringue