Thu, Aug 15, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Book review: Things I Don’t Want To Know

Deborah Levy’s rich response to George Orwell’s famous 1946 essay ‘Why I Write’ is unmissable

By Kate Kellaway  /  The guardian

She does not take issue with Orwell (he would admire the way she weaves South African politics into her narrative), but her triumph is to show that the will to write may not always be rational. From the start, as a teenager scribbling on napkins in London’s cafes, she was making it up as she went along. She quotes Polish theater director Zofia Kalinska: “We always hesitate when we wish for something. In my theatre, I like to show the hesitation and not to conceal it.” Levy adds: “It is the story of this hesitation that is the point of writing.” It gives one — as does everything in this original, dreamy, unmissable essay — pause for thought.

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