f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: A quick note from Grand Rapids

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Saturday, April 24, 2004

A quick note from Grand Rapids

Yesterday, had an opportunity to hear an interview with Leif Enger of Peace Like a River fame. Hearing authors speak is often hit-or-miss for me. Quite often, authors I love just don't impress me "live" and I find myself looking at their books a little different.

In this case, I'm one of the few who wasn't completely in love with Peace Like a River, yet I very much enjoyed the man and his interaction in this interview. Actually makes me want to pick up the book again.

A quote I enjoyed in response to why his characters didn't necessarily attend church in the novel. Enger said, "God is endlessly interesting. Church is not always so interesting."

As well, Enger said in the process of writing he's discovered that he can't truly commit to characters or find them authentic if he doesn't know how and where they were raised. This backstory, which often never makes it close to the book, is the kind of thinking that many of us may need to do if we're stuck in a particular spot or unhappy with a particular character.

Enger was quite down to earth about his writing and his life. He sounds like a very intuitive writer and manged to contradict many of the dearly-held myths about literature and writing. Good stuff.