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Question: Which writers influenced you most?

Khakpour:    I would say that other than the . . .  Great 19th century novelists – you know the Europeans definitely.  The same books everyone has read.  And you know I could go on about Tolstoy, ___________, you know the Brontes, Dickens, all those guys.  But I would say the writers that have probably influenced me the most – maybe not in terms of my actual writing style, but in terms of me being excited about writing and wanting to be a part of that world – would be the American writers of . . . the American experimentalists actually.  And that . . .  By that I mean great writers like Thomas Pynchon, and Don _________, and David Foster Wallace – writers who have earned that slightly unfortunate tag “Meta Fiction” you know?  And the absurdists, the hysterical realists, those guys.  It’s sort of strangely a boys club.  But the . . .  They’re . . .  You know when I . . .  When I started reading David Foster Wallace, I felt so excited.  I might have been in college, and I just felt like, you know, here’s a big nerd who thinks the way I think and wants to have fun at the same time as being smart.  The play in those books is just endlessly, endlessly interesting to me.  You know I find it very oppressive when people say, you know, “So and so is a great story teller.”  I cringe a little bit at the idea of storytelling and just saying, you know, “Well this novel, it’s just an amazing story.”  I don’t think story is enough.  I think we forget that sometimes.  Craft is not just . . .  I think of myself as a language writer, and the style of the prose was . . .  I’ll say thinking about the style of the prose in my novel was . . . took just as much energy if not more than the actual story.  The story is fairly classical than the story that’s been told before, but the prose I think isn’t.  So I had to create a style of prose in the same way that I felt David Foster Wallace did, or Thomas Pynchon, or those writers.  I’m really interested in the art of fiction.  I don’t just believe in character, plot, theme.

 

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