How Writing Is Like Mountain Climbing

Before setting off on a new novel, the author must be fully equipped with a sense of his characters, must have a path in mind, and must be able to see an ending in the distance, like a clouded mountaintop.

Detective Fiction Is a Postwar Metaphor

The detective tries to be outside the story, hiding in his office with his bottle of whiskey in the desk drawer, yet he always ends up inside it. This alienated observer, who is nevertheless compelled to act, is a metaphor for life in the 20th century.

A Short History of the Novel

The history of the novel in the 20th century is, among other things, a history of an argument with cinema—a very excited, nervous argument.

Why Jonathan Lethem Likes YouTube

In the tradition of Jay-Z and Jean-Michel Basquiat, YouTube users create brilliant "vernacular moments"—moments filled with pure expressivity that don't bother to think of themselves as art.