“I loved that remoteness…I enjoyed no telephone, no contact, no bosses breathing over my shoulder. I loved that life.”
Heyday is among other things an elegy upon the immemorial loneliness of man; a statement too about its causes (varied) and customary cure (someone charming to hold one’s hand).
While [other writers] went back to learn Tamil, Hindi or Gujarati, I never felt the need. I had a child’s grasp of Marathi from my first 4 years of education but also I was not in the least unhappy with my divided state. I was born on the cusp of independence, so there was no point denying my colonial legacy as well as the new India. The only thing to do was to accept it and to make the most or the worst of it.
“I was the spirit’s wastrel and fool,
and I have taken fifty years to cool.”
“The most important thing I discovered a few days after turning 65 is that I can’t waste any more time doing things I don’t want to do.” -Jep Gambardella, THE GREAT BEAUTY
“The first story I wrote was set in a post-apocalyptic Iowa City, about having to put your dogs to sleep because you don’t want them to be left roaming the smoking ruins after you have succumbed to radiation sickness. (It was the ’80s.) It had King Tut in it, and cavemen.”
In Monday’s profile Sonya Chung identified Sergei Dovlatov as a writer whose healthy, playful, even wicked humor didn’t at all diminish the “earnestness and regret” that often underlied his work. As we see from the quotes below, it put those traits and others—Dovlatov’s clear-sightedness, political awareness and clear love of literature—in an even brighter light.