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“A new novel, begun in hope and enthusiasm, grows shameful and strange to its author soon enough. After each book is done, you look forward to hating it (and you never have to wait long); there is a weird, inverse confidence to be had from feeling destroyed, because being destroyed, having to start again, means you have space in front of you, somewhere to go. Think of that revelation Shakespeare put in the mouth of King John: ‘Now my soul has elbow room!’ Fictionally speaking, the nightmare is losing the desire to move.”

“Other People’s Words, Part One,” in Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (New York: Penguin, 2009).
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