Episode 43 - David Mitchell and Michel Faber in conversation: Part 3


In the third, and penultimate, part of the David Mitchell and Michel Faber double-header, we start off by talking immortality and the status of fiction in the 21st century. 'I am something of an optimist,' Mitchell says before quoting the Rizzle Kicks' 'Skip to the Good Bit'. 'I like to think that starvation sharpens the appetite', he continues, arguing that the demands of the novel might seem more attractive the faster culture moves. 'The novel's imminent death, that bell has been rung so many times...' 

From there, Faber talked final lines, starting with The Book of Strange New Things


  • Mitchell asked about naming chapter titles after the final lines of each chapter
  • 'I think we are both concerned with the depth of the thing and layers, but we are both concerned with surface readability' Faber
  • Faber vs 'serious literary writers'
  • 'I think one way that serious literary writers have increasingly let down their readers and driven them into the arms of comfort fiction is by being insufficiently mindful of a reader's needs to fun and thrills' Faber
  • Faber vs Joyce, Woolf and Modernism: 'If you weren't smart enough to get it, you were the Molochs or whatever...'
  • Faber on John Carey's The Intellectuals and the Masses
  • 'I think in old money we are talking about elitism and snobbery, self-promotion over those beneath you' David Mitchell
  • Faber and Mitchell on science fiction (The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, Isaac Asimov) v 'high-brow' fiction 
  • reading as young people vs adults, Stephen King, pet cemeteries, Last Rites and Resurrections
  • genre, cliché and fresh forms
  • 'One thing that makes me uneasy is when reviewers talk about the stunning originality of our ideas' Faber
  • 'Where have you come from, matey!' Mitchell
  • Faber v VS Naipaul
  • 'It's alarming if serious literature remains closed off to the potentials of narratives in recent times' Faber
  • how they deal with being called incomparable, original etc
  • 'I am happier than being called shite and a waste of space' Mitchell
  • Ken Kesey, Mr Bean, and reading reviews... 
  • 'Reviews are not relevant to the work...' Faber