Josh, at Mark Sarvas' blog, The Elegant Variation, asking how to approach Kundera's work. I do my best to help out. I think that just as he applies his considerable study and understanding of fiction to the writing of books about fiction, so he also uses them to write books of fiction, with the result that reading one of his books is like having the author standing beside you explaining the book at the same time, only, somehow, that has been included in the book. As a reader, I enjoy this approach, but I suppose it isn't for everyone. There are times when he pulls you away from the story to give his opinions. I wouldn't want all my reading to be like that, but I do love his work.
At John Baker's blog: Poetry from Iran banned. Perhaps the most galling part of this is that it's one of the things we most condemn in other countries, the suppression of literature. It's as if we've become the enemy. On a related note, I'm reading the excellent book by Scarlett Thomas, The End of Mr Y, and the two bad guys are Americans. I admit it hurts me that we've become the world's bad guys. Thanks again, Dubya.
And also at John's blog: Emma, c'est moi. Perhaps Flaubert meant he could understand her, through some small similarities of character, those we suppress, for example. I feel like that about the characters in one of my (unpublished) novels. They're all me to a certain extent -- the me who became a corporate VP, the me who rejected society and lived in the woods, etc. A friend of mine insisted that one of my characters was actually her, which is how I realized that no, they're all me.
"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield