1. He’s my first reader and we know each other very well and, unless he thinks something is disastrous, in the first instance he’s encouraging and vague: ‘Keep at it. Keep going’ and when there’s a draft and it’s possible to be a more critical reader in a productive way, then he will be, but if I showed him 20 pages, he won’t start doing line edits or say, ‘This character needs more development on page four,’ you know. He won’t do that. He’ll just say, ‘Keep going. That’s great.’ … But he will [be more critical] later on. He’s well trained.

    — Novelist Claire Messud tells Terry Gross about the living-working relationshipwith her husband, The New Yorker fiction critic, James Wood.

  2. Fresh Air


    Claire Messud

    The Woman Upstairs

    James Wood

    The New Yorker