Our Bizarre Fascination with How Writers Work
And my Paris Review interview with the great Javier Marías
In memory of the Spanish novelist Javier Marías, frequent nominee for the Nobel prize, who passed away in September (2022).
In March 2005, I interviewed the Spanish novelist Javier Marías for one of the Paris Review’s iconic “Art of Fiction” interviews. Marías was then relatively unknown in the United States. Only a small number of readers had read the short profile of him in the New Yorker or the excerpts of his second novel, Voyage Along the Horizon, published in The Believer. But in Europe, particularly in Spain and Germany, he had the celebrity status of a rock star. His books had been translated into over thirty languages and had sold over five million copies worldwide. (He was also the kind of Redonda, an uninhabited Caribbean island—long story.) Earlier that day, while eating lunch at a nearby restaurant, the waitress asked what I was doing in Spain and when I told her that I was in Madrid to interview Javier …