Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Goldberg Variations

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Are there many authors who rewrite their works, later in life? After a lifetime of experience, the work would turn out very different, I think. Glenn Gould re-recorded Bach's Goldberg Variations 25 years after his first recording, and they're different, very different. It's a real pleasure to listen to the one and then the other. I wonder why more novelists don't return to a world they've created, and write it again. I can't think of many examples. It would be like a director remaking his own movie, which would almost certainly be better than hiring music video directors like the current fashion.

It would be interesting, too, to rewrite another person's novel. To re-imagine it, on some level, but also, to adapt it. When a book is made into a kids movie, often you have the book with a movie cover, but then also the YA adaptation of the book. The picture book version. Sticker books. It would be fun to do this with different writing styles.

You see the re-purposing of music across different genres and styles in music all the time. It would be fun to see that with books!

Maybe I'd be interested in Jonathan Franzen's new book if Lydia Millet translated it.

1 comment

robin mckinley (an excellent modern fantasy writer) did this with the story of beauty and the beast. the first is called beauty, and is a simplistic exercise but still very entertaining and unique. she wrote the story again years later, initially to be illustrated, but it came out as another novel, rose daughter, which is very dark and rich and stormy, a lot more mature. both are great reads.
love your work by the way, its an inspiration. i still remember staying up all night with no knowledge of photo shop making some fan art for asofterworld years ago.

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Joey Comeau

Joey Comeau is the author of Overqualified and Lockpick Pornography. With photographer Emily Horne, he creates the comic A Softer World. One Bloody Thing After Another is his latest book.

Go to Joey Comeau’s Author Page