HD: You see something that’s just come out, and you ask yourself, “Has this person ever read Calvino?” because they’re doing something somebody did better forty years ago. I came across this book recently that seemed like it was doing something less well than Barthes did in Fragments d’un discours amoureux. And it’s just that Barthes is so wonderful.
CG: Do you think that people should read fiction?
HD: Well, there’s good fiction. There are wonderful books, and yes, it’s good to read them. Maybe if you’ve read a lot of fiction, you reach this stage of satiation, and you start thinking well, what’s the point, but then you talk to people who’ve read barely any, and you realize that things you take for granted if you’ve read a lot of fiction—unreliable narrators, how language frames your perception of people—things that seem obvious to the point of banality, except they’re not to people who aren’t in the habit of reading fiction.