Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Some writers write about nothing, huge airy clouds of nothing, shopworn romances and thrillers and fake memoirs with character types instead of characters who slog through meaningless, overly familiar plots. People love the stuff! This is the literary equivalent of fast food. These doorstops with the glossy covers sell well at airports and may comprise most summer reading, but when the vacation ends they're usually left behind on the plane or by the pool.

While some write airy nothings, others try to grapple with the times in which they live. These writers are generally crankier than the pop writers. They rodeo-ride the zeitgeist and try to hold on till the bell rings. They takes risks. Unfortunately, they write books you can't read lying in a hammock after six pina coladas.

Here are two from the latter camp, Martin Amis and Norman Mailer, chatting in 1991.

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