• January 01, 2010

    Bookforum talks with John Irving

    John Irving always starts his stories at the end, which is why it has taken him nearly twenty years to write his twelfth novel, Last Night in Twisted River (Random House, $28). “The ending just eluded me,” he said in late September, when he spoke to me by phone from his Vermont home. “I knew only that there was a cook and his son, in a rough kind of place, and something happens to make them fugitives.” The protagonists in this exquisitely crafted, elliptically structured novel—a gripping story that spans five decades and extends across northern New England and Ontario—are Dominic Baciagalupo,

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  • September 01, 2009

    Bookforum talks with A.S. Byatt

    The prolific A. S. Byatt has been publishing novels since the mid-'60s (her first, The Shadow of the Sun, came out in 1964), but it wasn't until 1990, when she won the Booker Prize for Possession—the story of a pair of contemporary scholars whose research on two Victorian poets reveals an extramarital affair between them—that she became an international (literary) household name. But Dame Byatt, who was awarded the DBE ten years ago (and the CBE nine years earlier), credits not the Booker Prize but the Web with her considerably raised profile: "Everything I say or write is now perpetuated and

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