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This interview is taken from PN Review 75, Volume 17 Number 1, September - October 1990.

Christine Brooke-Rose In Conversation Nicolas Tredell

PARK COURT HOTEL, LONDON
6 MARCH 1990

Nicolas Tredell: Your latest novel, Verbivore, is a very inventive, very witty work, but it also seems to me to have a very sombre resonance. There's a strong sense of an ending, an apprehension of a fall, after an excess of noise, into a possibly terminal silence. How do you feel yourself about the book?

Christine Brooke-Rose: Yes, I was trying to explore the possibility of our minds being completely altered by the media, and if the media suddenly collapse, which is what the book is about, can we actually go back to a premedia mentality? And we can't. Society was very structured and layered, but everyone knew where they were. This was not necessarily a good society, but there were all sorts of ways of communicating at different levels, and above all, people read. Perhaps only an élite, I'm not going to go into the sociology of it, but nowadays people read less and less, and they want easy books, and they're so formed by television. I saw this as a teacher. It was very difficult to get students to read even a short story, where I in my youth just read, that was it, that was the centre of my life, to read, and there was this notion of completion, I wanted to read all Balzac, for instance, I wanted to cover the whole terrain. Reading was always central and still is now, though I ...


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