Friday, 14 January 2011

The necessity of failure

As a P.S. to my previous post, I happened to be listening to Howard Jacobson talking about his book The Mighty Waltzer on Radio 4’s Book Club . Having just won the Man Booker for his latest novel, The Finkler Question – and receiving the biggest ever sales boost from the prize since records began - he had this to say about his success:

‘All my books have been about failure of some kind and I’ve always argued success is not interesting. It’s not interesting to a writer, it doesn’t make a story, it’s not what a writer is; if a writer were a successful person he wouldn’t be a writer. I actually say to all of you in the fondest way, if you are readers, as I am a writer, isn’t that because we are all in a sense failures together? Failures at being worldly - we read because we want the world to be somewhat another place, we write because we want the world to be [another place], we do not feel the world is satisfactory to us, or that we have made our way in a satisfactory sense...I mean this in the most complimentary way. For me to be a failure is the highest haven’t been a banker, you haven’t become a footballer, you’ve gone into the imagination, to remake and to relive the world....Even in success, a man of imagination can find failure.’

1 comment:

  1. Just love this, especially this part:

    Failure is the highest achievement.

    Imagine what we can attempt, what we can try if our highest goal is to fail?