Since I write about fragmentary writing a lot--and because Adler's novels Speedboat and Pitch Dark are two of the very best examples of the form--I wanted to excerpt the part of our discussion that touched on "writing in pieces":
One of the things that strikes me about the books is their form. Both of them are fragmentary -- Speedboat especially is very fragmentary -- and that feels very contemporary to me.
The intention was never to be fragmentary. That's how it came out. But there was never the intent to be fragmentary. You suddenly think, "Wait a minute, this is doing this, let's stop that."
One wants -- one has a right in a way -- to lose oneself in fiction. So one doesn't want to be brought up short all the time. And then there's another thing that I seem to do, which is try to put a little essay in there. It's there because it matters to me. One thing that occurs to me is that plot and momentum and feeling may not have to do with story as we think of it. That is, a sentence may have a plot, a paragraph may have a plot, a cadence may have a plot. And there are other intensities than, say, suspense.
But then, why should people care? And some people don't. We can all tell them in a John le Carré novel -- which I love -- why they should care that Smiley should win and Karla should lose. And if it's Harry Potter, we can tell them why you should care that this happens and not this. Those effects are incredibly valuable, and you don't want to lose, let alone renounce them. What then? For example, if I happen to be reading, just take an absurd example -- Anna Karenina -- do I not wish that she would not throw herself on the track? I'd much prefer that she not. Yet I know that she will, because she does.
You might think that one invariably cares more about real life than what's in fiction, but I think that maybe it isn't really so. Particularly with public things like teams -- you may have a favorite team and you'd rather they'd won than that they'd lost. And you may care a lot about that. And some people care enormously about that. And some people seem to care what happens to this celebrity or that. They may feel very strongly about having this happen or that happen. And that's real life. But do I care more about a particular character in fiction? I do. So that particular magic, in fiction, one doesn't want to lose it. One doesn't want to forgo it. On the other hand, one doesn't want to have it too easy.You can check out the rest of the interview here.