Unforgettable Paris and the Best Bits of the Lit Lovers' Bible; Books THE PARIS REVIEW INTERVIEWS VOL 1 (Canongate, Pounds 14.99)

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), March 25, 2007 | Go to article overview

Unforgettable Paris and the Best Bits of the Lit Lovers' Bible; Books THE PARIS REVIEW INTERVIEWS VOL 1 (Canongate, Pounds 14.99)


Byline: by Lorne Jackson

OF course, the greatest newspaper known to mankind is the Sunday Mercury

Where else will you be confronted by a heady mix of crime, scandal and political intrigue - and that's just the food review.

But which publication comes second?

For book lovers, the answer has to be The Paris Review.

Sold since the early 1950s, the magazine - started by American ex-pats living in Paris - has always been intellectually rigorous yet dazzlingly hip.

Over the years, it has published the formative works of many aspiring writers, while providing in-depth interviews with the most influential novelists of the times.

However, it has never been a dull and worthy enterprise.

No matter how exalted its reputation, there has always been a streak of danger running through the Review.

In the journal's first base, staff weren't given office keys, which meant anyone working late had to climb out the window, hang from the ledge, then jump.

Intense literary hacks were often mistaken for burglars.

The Review later moved to a boat anchored in the Seine.

There was no telephone, and editorial meetings were interrupted by jam sessions from legendary jazz musicians.

Meanwhile, one of the reporters almost wrecked an interview with Graham Greene by arriving at his doorstep hung-over, then promptly throwing up in his own hat.

Interviewers may have been steaming - but interviews were always smoking. Question and answer sessions proved to be extraordinarily revealing, giving an insight into the murky minds of authors, and the inspiration behind their works.

Now many of these classic chats have been collected in a single podgy volume, giving lit lovers a peek behind the scenes, a privileged peephole into the weird and warped world of... the AUTHOR. …

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