I had the pleasure of recently interviewing the much-acclaimed novelist Sergio de la Pava (A Naked Singularity, Personae) for The Quietus. Here’s an excerpt,
‘If A Naked Singularity is full of digressions what are they digressing from. If you answer “from the story” then I think you and I just have a vastly different conception of what a long story that would feel genuine simply is. Because if your life is a form of story then surely it’s digressive as hell, to its very core.
The restraint comes from the fact that we don’t go to novels to see a perfect mimicry of life. After all, if you find quotidian life so compellingly instructive you can simply stand still and have it rush at you in blissful unrelenting waves. No, we want the novel to perform an artful distillation for us; we don’t want to see every play, just the highlight reel.
So if I’m charged with that curatorial activity, including everything would be a form of abdication and precisely the kind that results in bad art. Same for letting the thing write itself, which is just another way of saying that aesthetic standards have been abandoned. I’m old fashioned, man. If the ship goes down, I’m sinking with it.’