September 25, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Mohsin Hamid on likable characters in fiction

1 min read

Mohsin hamidThe Pakistani novelist on: Are We Too Concerned That Characters Be ‘Likable’? (NYT)

Among the quotes I keep taped to the printer on my writing desk is this one, from Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”:

“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”

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