Trust is broken

Writing has its own movement. It needs to let things ripen, to digest things before it can reveal them. Then the intervention of the writer becomes a superfluous intervention. That’s one of the reasons why the traditional novel has always irritated me.

The novelist is most often someone who doesn’t listen to the book but wants only to make himself heard. He imposes his characters, his story. And the writing does nothing but repeat. So it becomes a tool, a simple instrument of communication. But writing is entirely another thing.

What’s also curious is that one very quickly perceives that one never expressed himself better than when he is silent and lets the writing speak for itself. Each time one wants to force it, once betrays it. I don’t mean that there’s no need to correct a text. In my case, every book has had no less than three or four versions. But that work is one of listening.

–Edmond Jabès in conversation with Libération, 1980

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