Doug Nufer interviewed at Hobart

by-kelman_frontOver at Hobart, Tom DeBeauchamp poses a number of intriguing questions to Doug Nufer, author of By Kelman Out of Pessoa.  In response to a question about the extent to which constraint-based writing should be open about its constraints, Nufer answered:

In my novels I like to deploy what I think of as the Exercises in Style imperative: as in Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style, where he repeats the same vignette 99 times, using different methods and constraints, I try to subject whatever constraint I’m using to various other, far more common constraints: punch lines of old jokes, song lyrics, lines from famous speeches and ad slogans, etc. Another strategy I use, which may deal with this to hide/to show question, is that I explain what I’m doing in the course of doing it, but not in a way that might be readily apparent. I mean, the books don’t come with instructions of how to read them, but in the course of the novel, here or there, I try to discuss what I’m doing. So, in By Kelman Out of Pessoa, not only is there an introduction of sorts, where I say that each character makes up the others and sends them out into the world (as Pessoa did), where they play the ponies using a scheme described by James Kelman, but there’s a detailed run-down of how the order of winning post positions could determine who says what where in the book.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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