Before my first novel, I was dating a woman who later went to prison for bashing a guy with a hammer.
The love I felt for her on that train ride had a capital and provinces, parishes and a Vatican, an orange planet and many sullen moons — it was systemic and it was complete.
I write almost entirely in bed or on a couch with my feet up on the coffee table. I feel most creative when Im looking out the window, and my bed and couch have nice views of the New York skyline.
Life for young American college graduates is a festive affair. Free of having to support their families, they mostly have gay parties on rooftops where they reflect at length upon their quirky electronic childhoods and sometimes kiss each other on the lips and neck.
I read real books. On paper. You know, those printed books? I feel like this is the last thing I do to support my industry. I think they smell great, too.
If my mother hadn’t tried to sell me chicken Kiev cutlets for $1.40 after I graduated from college, maybe I would’ve been the lawyer she wanted me to be.
I’m the fortieth ugliest man in this bar. But so what! So what!… Isn’t this how people used to fall in love?
Summer is a Latvian chicken. We make foolish choices. We think we’re young again. We run with outstretched arms toward an object of love and it pecks us and pecks us until we’re standing there snot-nosed and teary in the middle of Astor Place and the sun sets fire to our Penguin shirts and all that is left to do is go to our air-conditioned homes and ponder the cruelty of our finest season.
I have some memories of certain things that happened in high school when I was stoned out of my mind, but I talked with other people about them, and I trusted the aggregated memories.
In the first few pages, Kundera discusses several abstract historical figures: Robespierre, Nietzsche, Hitler. For Eunice’s sake, I wanted him to get to the plot, to introduce actual "living" characters – I recalled this was a love story – and to leave the world of ideas behind. Here we were, two people lying in bed, Eunice’s worried head propped on my collarbone, and I wanted us to feel something in common. I wanted this complex language, this surge of intellect, to be processed into love. Isn’t that how they used to do it a century ago, people reading poetry to one another?
Remember this… develop a sense of nostalgia for something, or you’ll never figure out what’s important.
The best thing about the iPhone is this that tells me where I am all the time. Theres never a need to feel lost anymore.
After you publish a book, you become a writer and you’re supposed to take it very seriously. You’re supposed to show up at your desk – although frankly, I don’t have a desk, I write in bed – you’re supposed to show up at your bed and produce work. I think it’s a little bit like work. I like to have fun with it, do things like make silly book trailers. I don’t want to take this too seriously.
I love to act, I’ve always wanted to be an actor. I think that acting and fiction go nicely together – being able to visualize language as something you perform, not just something that’s there on the page.
I feel safe with him because he is so not my ideal and I feel like I can be myself because I’m not in love with him.
I don’t have many possessions, apart from my books.
In America, the distance between wanting something and having it delivered to your living room is not terribly great.
… I’m the fortieth-ugliest man in this bar. But so what! So what! What if someday she lets me kiss each one of her freckles again? She has like a million. But every one of them means something to me. Isn’t this how people used to fall in love? I know we’re living in Rubenstein’s America, like you keep saying. But doesn’t that just make us even more responsible for each other’s fates? I mean, what if Eunice and I just said no to all this. To this bar. To this FACing. The two of us. What if we just went home and read books to each other?
Then I celebrated my Wall of Books. I counted the volumes on my twenty-foot-long modernist bookshelf to make sure none had been misplaced or used as kindling by my subtenant. “You’re my sacred ones,” I told the books. “No one but me still cares about you. But I’m going to keep you with me forever. And one day I’ll make you important again.” I thought about that terrible calumny of the new generation: that books smell.
I write five, six days a week. The thing is capturing the voice. I feel like I’ve been perfecting one voice – in different iterations, sure, but the Russian-ness has always been the undercurrent.
One should learn from a book. Books have a lot to teach us. They have a lot of empathy to impart to us, but they should also be fun. This stuff is fun! You shouldn’t pick up a book and say, "Oh my god, I’m gonna better myself by reading this." You may better yourself by reading this, but who cares? Just have fun.
Getting out of Russia was the best thing my parents did. I mean, that country will never amount to anything.
Michigan, with its delicious American name. How lucky one must be to live there.
My parents were kind enough to spend hours talking to me.
If you’re not fascinated by Korea yet, you damn well should be. The most innovative country on earth deserves a hilarious and poignant account on the order of Euny Hong’s The Birth of Korean Cool. Her phat beats got Gangnam Style and then some.
I wish I were stronger and more secure in myself so that I could really spend my life with a guy like Lenny. Because he has a different kind of strength than Joshie. He has the strength of his sweet tuna arms. He has the strength of putting his nose in my hair and calling it home. He has the strength to cry when I go down on him. Who IS Lenny? Who DOES that? Who will ever open up to me like that again? No one. Because it’s too dangerous. Lenny is a dangerous man. Joshie is more powerful, but Lenny is much more dangerous.
A writer or any suffering artist-to-be is just an instrument too finely set to the human condition […]
Silence has been destroyed, but also the idea that it’s important to learn how another person thinks, to enter the mind of another person. The whole idea of empathy is gone. We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.
Reading is entering into the consciousness of another human being.
America should treasure its rare, true original voices and Mark Leyner is one of them. So treasure him already, you bastards!
Asthmatic immigrant learns to breathe by writing.
She was clothed entirely in two large swatches of leather, the leather fake and shiny in a self-mocking way, absolutely correct for 1993, the first year when mocking the mainstream had become the mainstream.
Vodka is a wonderful drink. You can drink so much of it without being as hung over as you would if you were drinking one of the brown liquors – the whiskeys and such. It’s a great drink to go with appetizers.
My first book really did change my life. It allowed me to fully express myself. There was a sense that I was worth something as an artist.
American fiction is good. It would be nice if somebody read it.