Elias Khoury, author of Gate of the Sun, White Masks, and As Though She Were Sleeping, responds in The Paris Review Daily to the recent explosion in Beirut that has killed over 150 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Read “This Is Not Beirut,” translated from Arabic by Humphrey Davies, here.
Meet Karl Ove Knausgaard’s translator Don Bartlett, interviewed by Scott Esposito for The Paris Review.
When did you first encounter My Struggle?
I went to a panel discussion in London with three Norwegian writers, led by someone I knew was clued up on Norwegian literature. Afterward, I talked to Karl Ove and asked him what he was working on. He said he had just written five—I think it was five—novels. I asked him what about. He said, with a laugh, Myself.
For me, literature is a form of play. But I’ve always added that there are two forms of play: football, for example, which is basically a game, and then games that are very profound and serious. When children play, though they’re amusing themselves, they take it very seriously. It’s important. It’s just as serious for them now as love will be ten years from now. I remember when I was little and my parents used to say, ‘Okay, you’ve played enough, come take a bath now.’ I found that completely idiotic, because, for me, the bath was a silly matter. It had no importance whatsoever, while playing with my friends was something serious. Literature is like that—it’s a game, but it’s a game one can put one’s life into. One can do everything for that game.
– Julio Cortázar, Argentine novelist (1914-1984), in an interview with The Paris Review
Check out Cortázar’s Autonauts of the Cosmoroute or the brilliant Hopscotch.