Novels — they’re in inevitable decline. They can’t compete with the movie screen, the TV screen and now the computer screen. Give things 25 years, and there will be just a small cult of readers left. That’s the prediction of American author, Philip Roth, who has 27 novels to his credit. And apparently, Roth is personally hastening the process. Earlier this year, he told a reporter for the Financial Times: “I’ve stopped reading fiction. I don’t read it at all. I read other things: history, biography. I don’t have the same interest in fiction that I once did.” When asked why, he quipped: “I don’t know. I wised up … ”
For Paul Auster, another productive novelist, the reports of the novel’s death are greatly exaggerated. Humans hunger for stories. They always will. And, the novel, it knows how to adapt and survive. Will it survive with the help of technology? Auster might not be the best person to ask. He owns neither a computer nor a mobile phone. Lucky man.
Bonus: You can listen to Paul Auster read The Red Notebook, a collection of short stories published in 2002, right here. (He starts reading at around the 8:30 mark.) We have it listed in our collection of Free Audio Books.