Authors don’t (and can’t) experience their work the same way their readers do. I know which of the books of Herman Hesse is my favorite–or Gert Hoffman or Joyce Carol Oates or Robertson Davies, but I don’t know which of the books of Daniel Quinn is my favorite, because, in a very real sense, I’ve never read them.

Of necessity, authors evaluate their books in entirely different terms from the books they read. A failed book is unlikely to be valued highly by readers, but it may be highly valued by its author for what he or she learned from it. Another author might be able to answer your question with regard to his or her work, but I’m afraid I can’t with regard to mine.

ID: 432
posted: 05 Sep 1999
updated: 05 Sep 1999