Wednesday, October 15, 2008


As one of the people reading Epileptic, my duty this week was Discussion Director. The questions that engage discussion are those that are interpretative or analytical. The reader is supposed to look at the author's work and attempt to fathom its inherent meaning. This is all very well and good. However, upon reading the author interviews, I find that the potential for engaging discussion has been greatly impeded. Every question that surfaces in my (quite inquisitive) mind can be answered directly from David B. himself.

Do the author interviews render the position of Discussion Director as futile?

On a side note, I found it interesting that Persepolis, Blankets, and Epileptic were all published by the same company, L'Association.


Michael Hancock said...

I absolutely agree that an author's comments on his or her work provide a unique and potentially valuable perspective, coming from the horse's mouth, as it were, but they ought not be the last word on the subject. My purpose in giving you the interviews was to open up lines of inquiry, not to close them. I'd encourage you to look at what your author says as more of a starting point than a end. Consider where you might disagree with the author about his or her work, or generate new questions about the reading based on the author's remarks. You don't necessarily have to take the creator's viewpoint as the definitive one, and it certainly can't be comprehensive; much of the work still has to speak for itself. The book still needs a reader!

Andrew Nelson said...

David B. gave a very detailed interview with a lot of commentary on his art/writing style, so that might be expected. Satrapi and Thompson didn't (Thompson's interview is a lot more personal), so discussion directors should have a much easier job with them.

Personally, I find that the word investigator has the hardest job--especially for Thompson and Satrapi, whose novels are very easy to pick up.