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American author (1977- )

When you invent something, you’re drawing on reservoirs of knowledge that you already have. It’s only when you’re faithful to the truth that something can come to you from the outside.

ELIF BATUMAN, interview, The Rumpus, Apr. 25, 2012

I think any start has to be a false start because really there's no way to start. You just have to force yourself to sit down and turn off the quality censor. And you have to keep the censor off, or you start second-guessing every other sentence. Sometimes the suspicion of a possible false start comes through, and you have to suppress it to keep writing. But it gets more persistent. And the moment you know it's really a false start is when you start ... it's hard to put into words.

ELIF BATUMAN, The Paris Review, winter 2012

A few times I saw a chicken walking around importantly, like some kind of a regional manager.

ELIF BATUMAN, The Possessed

Such are the ills of our time, which flounders between apocalypse and normalcy. Are we in a crisis, or aren’t we?

ELIF BATUMAN, "On Complaining," London Review of Books, Nov. 20, 2008

That's what I always tell myself when I’m being fact-checked, and some detail I was attached to turns out not to be true. I'm initially disappointed, and maybe discouraged that now there's more work for me to do, but I know that 99.9% of the time there's actually something there, in the truth, that’s more interesting than whatever I or anyone else can make up.

ELIF BATUMAN, interview, The Rumpus, Apr. 25, 2012

If I could start over today, I would choose literature again. If the answers exist in the world or in the universe, I still think that's where we're going to find them.

ELIF BATUMAN, The Possessed

When you’re reading a novel, I think the reason you care about how any given plot turns out is that you take it as a data point in the big story of how the world works. Does such-and-such a kind of guy get the girl in the end? Does adultery ever bring happiness? How do winners become winners?

ELIF BATUMAN, interview, The Rumpus, Apr. 25, 2012

I didn't care about truth; I cared about beauty. It took me many years--it took the experience of lived time--to realize that they really are the same thing.

ELIF BATUMAN, The Possessed


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