Tartt said that Morris had offered her a Coca-Cola.
It was just awful, awful, awful." She became one of the most mythologised novelists of modern times, weird and reclusive and very much a Writer.
That's widely thought to be the most difficult form."
By Caroline Baum.
", It must have been a fascinating time to grow up in Mississippi - Tartt was born in 1964, so lived through the dramatic shift in the racial and economic landscape of the south. I never had a brother who died or anything like that." But I also read a great deal about art history, antique restoration, casino gambling — all sorts of things.
''I'm interested in different states of consciousness,'' Tartt says, ''which is why people in my books have epileptic fits and dream a lot.''.
One former classmate said, in a much quoted line: "If you went to her room at 4am, you'd find her [Donna] sitting at her desk, smoking a cigarette, wearing a perfectly pressed white shirt buttoned to the top, collar studs, trousers with a knife crease.
''I am one of two sisters born five years apart, so we were like two only children. It's a high-earner - she's rumoured to have received £1m from British publisher Bloomsbury alone - and fat - 555 pages - and, you know, "it just took a while to write". And I’m very preoccupied with my work on a word-to-word, sentence-to-sentence level.
And the power is in simple things.
"I'll tell you one big difference between the family in the book and my actual family," she says. Ever since the "Je ne vais jamais me marier" quote, journalists and fans have been trying to discover if Tartt really is celibate.
I really am still puzzled by it. by Willie Perdomo, Patina du Prey Posing in Poland
Now we're getting into kind of - I don't know."
Is this true? Mind you, it's difficult to imagine anyone taking the place of the real loves of her life, her dogs. What a great thing, to just disappear.
I met such kind strangers, I got teary when I left.''. Years passed.
How many you’d have to drink in an hour to die. It was a very attractive combination.". I wrote the epilogue about two weeks before I handed it in. Join our newsletter for a weekly update of recent highlights and upcoming events. Fakes look inanimate.''. JE Or their dreams.
How do you think about place in your work, and why did you want to focus on these cities this time? Elusive: Donna Tartt was immersed in the antiques world. Her look is elegantly preppy: narrow dark trousers, black and white patent-leather loafers, a chic silk scarf looped about her throat. ''It is in our collective consciousness, so I think it's legitimate to write about it. I got to the point where I was, finally, just completely crazed. If your name's not out there in two years, people will forget all about you.'
People you'd meet and talk to and journalists would say, 'Oh, what are you going to do to top this one?
It was a bucket of cold water. We started the interview as conversation and finished it as notes, sent back and forth, while Donna was on tour for The Secret History. JE I kind of had the same experience with the prologue of From Rockaway, which I wrote last.
JE I both couldn’t imagine it not being published and couldn’t imagine it being published. You know, it’s like being an athlete, you’re so tired and you can’t go anymore, and then you go to sleep for those two hours, and it gets to the point where you’re so saturated that you dream that you’re actually working on the book. "), Tartt adores writers, and is very enamoured of the idea of the writer as an identity - the writers she loves, she idolises, and she is clearly trying to live up to her idea of a writer and what a writer is, which is not being a media person, not getting sidestepped by fripperies, not letting you in on how she does what she does. I wrote the book out of sequence.
’I’m five minutes early for my encounter with Donna Tartt, but she’s already there, sitting straight-backed at a corner table in Franchia, a Korean vegan tea- house (this is New York) on Park Avenue. Tartt: I think a lot about them in terms of sensory detail.
Tartt's persona fed this obsession: her name (glamorous), her size (pocket), her answerphone message (TS Eliot reading), her fascinating pronouncements ("My life is like Candide" or "I'm the exact same size as Lolita" ["ninety pounds is all she weighs/with a height of sixty inches"]), her chaste aura of another era ("Je ne vais jamais me marier," she once said, winsomely). "I remember when Martin Luther King was shot [in 1968, in nearby Memphis]. JE That’s a very high concept.
JE Do you consider your book a ghost story? Tartt is happiest of all when talking about stories: books, words, reading, writing. ''All those hidden lives and hidden rooms, the city has such an Alice in Wonderland quality, there is so much potential for adventure in it. Self-consciously writerly.
You were the first person to tell me that people’s ears could bleed from tornadoes. "After The Secret History I wanted to write a different kind of book on every single level," she says. I thought my publisher had arranged it.’ She laughs in wonder. ", But how did these changes affect her and her family? So is this Tartt discovering the southern girl within? DT It took so long, and I changed so much anyway. DT One was for the Williams College magazine. Are you afraid of retribution?
Harper's Bazaar The Awards Winners Beauty Box.
First published on Sat 19 Oct 2002 01.50 BST, Many people have a Donna Tartt story.
Because I’m very superstitious about that: even if I think it’s stupid, I’ll get up and write it down.
By Jill Owens, Powells.com. JE Can you actually sit there for eight hours?
DT It has some ghosts in it. I would have to say no. Tartt: I’d like to point out that all the books I signed for Powell’s are signed in purple ink, which is not the usual color of ink I use in my fountain pen.
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