On Novels and Novelists

P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Elena Ferrante, Robert Louis Stevenson, classic mysteries, Hollywood authors

PD James: in quotes

A list of quotations about writing and mysteries from British mystery novelist P. D. James, who died recentlyat the age of 94.

Here’s my favorite from this list:

I love the idea of bringing order out of disorder, which is what the mystery is about. I like the way in which it affirms the sanity of human life and exorcises irrational guilts.

Ruth Rendell, novelist: “Fictional characters are never as complex as a real person”

An interview with another British mystery novelist, Ruth Rendell, who also publishes under the name Barbara Vine.

The interview is quite short. Here’s the part that gives the article its title:

Which fictional character most resembles you?

I don’t think there is a fictional character who resembles me because fictional characters are not real! We, people, are so very, very complicated that no matter how well drawn a fictional character is, they can’t get anywhere near as complex as a real person.

Elena Ferrante, Author of Naples Novels, Stays Mysterious

More on the elusive Italian novelist:

In her most extensive interview in years, Ms. Ferrante, who publishes under a pseudonym and has never revealed her identity, addressed her choice of anonymity — or “absence,” as she called it. In an interview conducted by email and through her publisher, she disputed the oft-circulated notion that she might be a man. “My identity, my sex, are found in my writing,” Ms. Ferrante wrote in Italian in response to written questions conveyed by her longtime Italian publisher, Sandra Ozzola Ferri, who said the writer had declined to grant an in-person interview.

My First Book: “Treasure Island”

What a treat! Narrative reprints an 1894 essay by Robert Louis Stevenson about his break-through novel, Treasure Island.

Classic mysteries every fan should read

To keep the mystery theme going, Charles Finch, author of the Charles Lenox mystery series, asks:

Why are we so captivated by mystery novels? Maybe it’s the puzzle, the chance to watch the detective chase clues and try to beat him to their meaning. Maybe it’s the chance to look at darkness from a safe distance – a darkness that might feel more real, ironically, than the ugly blare of Nancy Grace, because the best mystery novels are about how human beings actually act at the worst moments in each other’s lives, not about yelling sensational details.

See what five works he thinks are “the ones I think every single book lover should read.”

Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors

According to Hollywood Reporter:

These writers — ranked in order of influence — whose books are source material for more than 300 movie and TV projects, have helped rake in billions in box office and revenue, and prove every day that originality, above all else, still matters.

See who else is on the list besides the ones that seem obvious—J. K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins.

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