William T. Vollmann on Danilo Kis and Unlikely Literary Homages


In the midst of a By the Book interview for the New York Times, William T. Vollmann takes a moment to discuss his appreciation of the work of Danilo Kis, author of The Encyclopedia of the Dead and A Tomb for Boris Davidovich.

His interrelated characters, who occasionally make cameo appearances in each other’s stories, play vivid parts in a Stalinist drama whose grim vastness invariably swallows them up. My novel “Europe Central” was homage to Kis. Unfortunately, I tend to be a wordier sort.

For more on Kis, you might want to read Anthony Paletta’s review of a 2013 biography of Kis, or a 1994 interview with him.

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