Mr. Gordon Highland and I took in a Jonathan Franzen reading this evening at the Kansas City Unity Temple (presented by Rainy Day Books). Franzen read from the same stage on which I met (re: awkwardly shook hands with) Chuck Palahniuk a few years ago. I bring these two authors together here not just because of their temporal-turned-spacial bond, but because the association allowed me to ponder their very different approaches to the live author reading.
Via a video posted on August 14th, Franzen noted his “profound discomfort” in having to make promotional author videos, basically, to me, implying that any promotional discussion taken place off the page stands in contrast to the intimate nature of a novel…
I get that. In fact, I may even sometimes agree with that. So I was glad when one of the audience members during the night’s reading asked a question that allowed Franzen to tangentially elaborate on his remarks (I post the abbreviated question below to show that Franzen wasn’t specifically addressing the above video, but instead a matter that relates to the video’s message):
… Read the rest
Q: When the writer reaches a certain level of prominence, does the focus on the author’s personality threaten to overshadow the work or become an irrelevant distraction?