Saturday Creativity Quote — more from Paul Lynch

Jeffrey Brown : “You have written about the role of the novel today and I guess a concern about whether it can still be valued, even important, have a place in our society.”

Paul Lynch: “Yes. It goes back to what I call the whisper in the ear. I mean, the novelist can whisper in the reader’s ear, and that’s a beautiful conversation. There’s also whisper in the ear that you have with yourself. But we live in a time where technology has done something to us.

We are no longer, for many of us anyway — unless you cultivate it and shape it, we are not in tune with ourselves. We’re not hearing the voice in the ear. And it’s harder to read fiction too. And I think that a culture that cannot hear itself think is a culture that is in serious trouble.

And I like that idea of fiction just being a little bit more dangerous, a little bit more engaging, pushing into — seeking this hidden charge of things and giving the reader maybe a little bit more electricity, but doing it respectfully.”

— Irish novelist Paul Lynch, winner of the 2024 Booker Prize for the novel Prophet Song, interviewed by Jeffrey Brown on the PBS Newshour

2 thoughts on “Saturday Creativity Quote — more from Paul Lynch

  1. Interesting. I agree that the space people have in their lives for individual perception and reflection is imposed upon by technology and the demands of faster and faster information delivery and communication through many channels. And that space is where good fiction is written and received. The idea that a computer can come up with the same—or better—”product” is another pressure. But I personally believe the reach and resources of an individual imagination will always be greater and unique. If challenged and used!

    • There’s an argument — and I think it’s a solid one — that art thrives against constraint, whether it’s the creator’s constraints of time and self-doubt, fear of public resistance, or something else. Resisting or responding to the challenges AI and other tech presents may be another example.

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