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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

A Book To Change Your Life

A panel at the PEN World Voices session came up with the following titles:

Antonio Muñoz Molina: Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
Catherine Millet: The Lily of the Valley by Honoré de Balzac
Yousef al-Mohaimeed: first the Arabian Nights, then poetry (including haikus), and then, of all things Nikos Kazantzakis Zorba the Greek
Olivier Rolin: Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
Annie Proulx: Before Adam by Jack London

The surrounding circumstances and reasons for the choices were, of course, as interesting as the selections: Proulx discovering the obscure London as a seven-year-old child, or Yousef al-Mohaimeed listening to his sister read from the Arabian Nights (which seems almost too clichéd—but when he follows that with Zorba the Greek it all sounds almost bizarrely believable again), or Millet drawn to Balzac after coming to recognize his style from readings on the radio.

Thanks to the Literary Saloon

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