Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A writer's best readers

To this day [my wife] Nily is my first reader. When she finds something in a draft that is wrong she says: That just doesn't work. Cross it out. Sit down and write it again. Or: We've heard that before. You've already written it somewhere. No need to repeat yourself. But when she likes something, she looks up from the page and gives me a certain look, and the room gets bigger. And when something sad comes off, she says, that passage makes me cry. Or if it's something funny, she bursts into peals of laughter. After her, my daughters and my son read it: they all have sharp eyes and a good ear. After a while, a few friends will read what I have written, and then the readers, and after them come the literary experts, the scholars, the critics, and the firing squads. But by then I'm not there anymore.
Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness (Nicholas de Lange trans., 2003), pp. 519-20

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