So much gold in this Vulture profile of author Rachel Kushner:
Kushner speaks fluidly but is sometimes hard to parse. Category distinctions are very important to her, and she gives no quarter to the gray areas that are unavoidable in discussing her work. She can seem impossibly sophisticated and then incongruously naïve, like an excited conversationalist occasionally trapped at a cruising altitude of lofty ideas.
Then she had another idea, and unfurled it for me: “Writing is a way of living. It doesn’t quite matter that there are too many books for the number of readers in the world to read them. It’s a way of being alive, for the writer.”
I’ve been sort of aghast at the entire seesaw of critical response to Kushner’s work. The praise, the backlash, the aggressive backlash backlash. She’s just damn good, and she’s getting better (The Flamethrowers is a vast improvement over Telex From Cuba): that’s all there is to it.
Oh, and this:
In preschool, she got second-degree burns from a pancake skillet. Severe strep throat left her home from fourth grade for long stretches, nurturing a reading habit just like the young, sickly Marcel Proust (who’d become her favorite author). But she also wound up vomiting blood and spending days in the hospital. Walking home from school around age 7, she was nearly kidnapped by a man circling the block in a car. The incident led to recurring nightmares. Trying to make sense of them, Kushner eventually sought treatment—that Lacanian psychoanalysis, a highly intellectualized practice that overlays Freudian theory with postmodern philosophical inquiries.