Some of the most well-known and well-respected cultural figures of our time enter into intimate and illuminating conversation about their personal beliefs, about belief itself, about religion, and about God.
Antonio Monda is a disarming, rigorous interviewer, asking the most difficult questions (he often begins an interview point blank: “Do you believe in God?”) that lead to the most wide-ranging conversations. An ardent believer himself, Monda talks both with atheists (asked what she feels when she meets a believer, Grace Paley replies: “I respect his thinking and his beliefs, but at the same time I think he’s deluded”) and other believers, their discussion ranging from personal images of God (Michael Cunningham sees God as a black woman, Derek Walcott as a wise old white man with a beard) to religion’s place in American culture, from the afterlife to the concepts of good and evil, from fundamentalism to the Bible. And almost without fail, the conversations turn to questions of art and literature. Toni Morrison discusses Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner, Richard Ford invokes Wallace Stevens, and David Lynch draws attention to the religious aspects of Bu–uel, Fellini...and Harold Ramis's Groundhog Day .
Informal, revealing, unexpected, Do You Believe? is a captivating and thought-provoking meditation how faith, in all its facets, remains profoundly relevant for and in our culture.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Do You Believe?|
|Release Date: 10-09-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Do You Believe?|
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Do You Believe?
A Mocking and Unfathomable Mystery
I've known Paul Auster for many years, and I have to admit that for a long time I was sorry that he was so unwilling to talk about his personal relationship with religion. I realize that it's a delicate subject, and that each sensibility experiences it in a different way, and yet I somehow felt that he owed me that sort of confidence. Obviously, I was wrong, but then, especially after September 11, 2001, our relationship gained a certain intimacy, nourished by long conversations about politics (his positions are definitely more radical than mine), about cinema (I admire the humility he has demonstrated as a writer learning about film), and about Brooklyn, where he lives, and which in his latest novel he calls "the ancient kingdom."
Paul is a great storyteller, and his inability to contain his laughter when he is telling a funny story is irresistible. Some of his favorite stories are about Billy Wilder, a director we both love, and among the many anecdotes he has recounted, my favorite is one that I think explains his conception of life. Wilder, on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday, was to receive an important prize intended as a tribute to his entire career. All Hollywood had gathered to honor him, and at least three generations of producers, directors, actors, and other film people gave the master a standing ovation as soon as he appeared in the theater. Wilder made his way to the stage with some difficulty, accepted the award, and then headed toward the microphone that had been set up for his thank-you speech. This rhetorical moment has enormous importance in Hollywood, and the excitement in the theater was palpable. Finally reaching t...