What Fred Said

Fred Vargas, archaeologist of the Middle Ages and crime novelist, interviewed in the Guardian:

Since the 1970s, Vargas argues, serious literature has regarded stories as “slightly silly”, forcing them to become “refugees” in the crime novel. “It has been a literature of narcissism about ‘me and my family’, ‘me and my problems’, ‘me and my lover’. I’m sick of it, especially as Proust did this perfectly all those years ago. But when he spoke of himself, he spoke of the whole world. Most writers today just speak of themselves. And Hemingway’s language is precisely the opposite of Proust in that it feels rougher, and while Proust could deal with the infinite smallness of life, Hemingway has the infinite hugeness of it.”