Towards the end of the talk, Lahiri spoke about her reluctance to read reviews of her novels, saying that while she needs the comments and critiques of her trusted mentors and friends, critics’ opinions just don’t get her anywhere. “I got an email from a friend once saying they’d read an ‘interesting’ review of the book. I knew what ‘interesting’ meant, I spent two days crying myself to sleep without ever having read the review.” This all is coming from someone who, again, won a Pulitizer Prize at 32.
She didn’t actually dismiss the value of critics like this, saying that they were very necessary as readers but “what are they going to tell me about my own work?”
A very ‘I write for myself’ take on the craft, which is maybe the only way to survive as a writer.
The Namesake was written by Jhumpa Lahiri. It was published in 2003.