Books: Good Talk Writers At Work

Edited by George Plimpton Viking; 331 pages; $22.95

The Paris Review interviews, collected and published periodically as Writers at Work, have been conducted for more than 30 years (the Paris Review recently turned out its 100th issue). It is a safe bet that 30 and even 300 years from now these conversations will be invaluable to students of 20th century literature.

The seventh book in the series offers its share of insights and delights. John Barth claims that he became a writer by "passionate default." Edna O'Brien espouses chastity "except when one can no longer resist the temptation." Philip Roth, asked for the umpteenth time to compare himself to...

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