Too nice for vice?

"Too nice for vice?" Continued...

Issue: "Barrier riffs," Feb. 10, 2007

WORLD: Thinking about flattery: A reviewer in the Calgary Herald wrote about Don't Say a Word (1991), "Klavan is no stylist and his characters are far from unforgettable." Recently, Associated Press reviewer Bruce DeSilva stated, "Klavan's writing is masterful, and his characters superbly drawn." Was the initial reviewer wrong, or have you become a better writer over the past 15 years? If so, what do you count as major improvements, and how did you achieve them?

KLAVAN: Clearly the reviewer who attacked me was blinded by sin and possibly on mind-altering drugs as well. I'm joking, of course. I'm a little torn about how to answer because on the one hand, sure, you get better as you go along. You learn how to create emotional effects, when to leave things out, when to spell them out. On the other hand, I've always prided myself on two things: my style and my characters, which I think are both unique in the genre. But when you do something different, there are going to be people like the Calgary guy who don't like it and you have to live with that.

WORLD: One pastor suggests that Christians should be able to say what they're doing because of Christ that they otherwise would not do, and what they're not doing that they otherwise would do. Applying that to writing: What do you think you might do differently in future novels?

KLAVAN: All I can tell you is this. I'm writing a book now—the first novel I've written from beginning to end as a baptized man—and it's so different from anything I've ever done and yet so completely and naturally the product of my personal vision that I can only watch it unfold with a sort of helpless fascination. I believe the reason for that is this: As a Christian, I'm more myself and I see the world more clearly as it is. And the reason for that is, in the immortal words of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol: "It's all right. It's all true. It all happened."

—Reader advisory: Klavan novels realistically depict violence, unbiblical sexual activities, and characters unable to put together a sentence that does not include an obscenity.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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