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This interview is taken from PN Review 49, Volume 12 Number 5, May - June 1986.

in conversation with Natalia Ginzburg Tim Parks
After a hopeless night in a couchette the train was two hours late arriving. I had to rush across a Rome I don't know to get to my appointment on time. My tape recorder had already decided not to work and I was relieved. My motive, anyway, in arranging this interview had been more to have an excuse to meet a writer whose work I admire than to achieve a journalistic scoop, and tape recorders are embarrassing. Thus the interview was noted down immediately afterwards between showers of spring rain on the steps of Piazza di Spagna.

Ginzburg was not disappointing. Small, white-haired, bright-eyed and modestly dressed, she met me in her office at the publishers Einaudi. Forthright in general and self-effacing as far as her own work was concerned, she was quick to say she didn't know as soon as anything was a shade outside her field. The comments she made on other Italian writers she asked me, for the most part, not to mention. The problem with the conversation was to get her to talk about her own work, since her curiosity constantly prompted her to turn the questions back on me, to ask about England etc. Hence what follows is a text shorn of numerous digressions, and reported from memory at an hour's distance
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Tim Parks - What exactly do you do at Einaudi?


Natalia Ginzburg - I read manuscripts, two days a week. I do the second ...


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