Sunday, August 7, 2011

Helen Schulman

Helen Schulman is the author of the novel This Beautiful Life. From her Q & A with Alexandra Alter at the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:

A review in the New York Observer described “This Beautiful Life” as a novel about how the Internet is stripping us of our humanity. Did you intend to make that point?

I honestly don’t agree with that. I think what Daisy does is very human; it’s extremely naked. The desire to share something that upsets one or scares or titillates is human. The Internet does many things that are extremely valuable and truly exciting. One thing I do think it does is endanger privacy, and I value privacy. In some ways, it’s a defense of privacy.

Were you worried the novel might be seen as overly moralistic, and if so, what did you do to try to avoid that trap?

I don’t feel like it’s my place to judge. The characters all made big mistakes. They’re human. …An editor early on said to me about the book, “I think fiction should teach me how to live,” and I thought, that’s not my job. I show how people do live.

Did writing this make you think differently about how we communicate electronically?

I spent so much time...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue