Looking for something on Georges Perec, I fished out an old copy of the Review of Contemporary Fiction—the great GP/Felipe Alfau double issue from Spring 1993. Here are two extracts from an interview with Alfau, conducted by Ilan Stavans. (Just discovered—the whole interview is here.)
IS: Why did you become a writer?
FA: I am not a professional writer. Only by necessity have I ever received payment for my work. Dalkey Archive Press offered me money for my two novels but I refused to accept it. For my poems I received $500 because I needed to pay the monthly payment here, in the retirement home. The truth is, I was never interested in writing, nor did I ever dream of making a living at my craft. I hate full-time authors. I hate intellectuals that make a living from abstractions and evasions. The art of writing has turned into an excess. Today, literature is a waster. It should be abolished, at least in the form we know: as a money-making endeavor.
* * *
IS: You come from a family of journalists, translators, and fiction writers....Your sister Monserrat...was close to the publishing house Editorial Porrúa, S.A., in Mexico City. She did translations.
FA: There was a possibility of her translating Locos.
IS: What happened?
FA: I don't know. I don't think the publisher at Porrúa liked the book. I don't blame him!
Labels: Felipe Alfau