Now that summer’s well on its way, we’re proud to introduce to you the last of our four summer interns. And if you’re impressed with the wit, charm and sheer intelligence of this crew, you’re not alone. Rounding out the team is Lindsay Levy, a rising sophomore and Creative Writing major at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.
If there’s one novel currently in print that you wish had your name on the cover as the author, what book do you wish it was and why?
I pretty much wish I had written every book I love, because most often, the reason I love a book so much is that I feel like the author is saying exactly what I’m thinking, just in a way I had yet to figure out how to articulate. Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet changed my life and put into print things I had always been thinking about. I think I would be most proud to call that book, or collection of letters, my own. But Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is one of the most beautifully crafted books I’ve ever read, and I can only dream that one day I’ll write as lyrically and thoughtfully as she does.
What fictional character do you think best represents you?
I don’t think one character I’ve read represents me, and I’ve had some real trouble with this question. But if I must answer, I guess I’d consider myself most like a character in an Aimee Bender story called “The Rememberer” because when things aren’t going so well, like say, you’re going through a breakup, it’s way more interesting to imagine your boyfriend is just evolving backwards, until he’s a tadpole set loose in the ocean. Fiction is always the best way to get through things, right?
What is one book that you’ve read that you can’t live without?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Brave New World was one of the first books I read that made me look at the innate flaws of society and the fact that artists don’t really fit into the way it’s been constructed. In almost any intellectual discussion or train of thought I come back to this book and am always amazed by how brilliant a thinker Huxley was, and more so, how truly terrifying our society can be if we’re not careful. His warning has and always will stick with me, and makes me more aware of how our culture develops and my place in it.
What is one book (contemporary or classic) that you think is highly overrated?
I’d have to say Atonement by Ian McEwan. I saw the movie first, but being a book lover I thought I had to give the novel a shot. That was a mistake and I still don’t understand all the hype. I loved the movie, but the book kind of bored me. The idea of changing the story within the story so that Briony can live with what she’s done is a brilliant idea, but I found it fell short of what he was trying to accomplish in print. But hey, everything’s worth a second chance, maybe another read-through would resonate differently with me.
If you could make any book (fiction or non-fiction) into a movie, which book would you choose and who would you cast in the leading roles?
In school we read a collection of short stories by Anthony Doerr called Memory Wall. I think the title story would have translated amazingly into a film, dealing with memory in such an innovative way, and with a setting like Cape Town, South Africa (incidentally, my birth place and home to my whole family), I think it could just be beautiful and politically interesting. There are so many different characters that I don’t know if I could cast them all, but I definitely think Maggie Smith would make a great Alma.
What did you long to be when you were growing up?
I went through a million phases like most kids, but I’ve been writing since I was about seven. I don’t know when I weeded out all my other fantasies (astronaut, veterinarian, etc.) but for quite a while now the only thing I can imagine myself being happy doing is writing. If I can’t do that, put me on the road, or somewhere I can talk to people I wouldn’t usually encounter, but please never let me end up in a cubicle from nine to five.
Do you write? If so, what type of writing?
Yup. I’m currently studying creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and as I said above, I love writing. I want to write literary fiction eventually, I suppose, but I think that David Foster Wallace style essays might be a cool genre to explore as well. I also dabble in poetry. My ideas are usually driven by philosophers like Nietzsche and psychologists like Rollo May so, I think ideally, I’d love to be smart enough to tell stories about ideas. I want to write Existential novels really, like Sartre and Camus. Dream big, right?
In haiku form, please share your thoughts on contemporary publishing/writing.
Is it any good?
Put me online, then print me.
Read me, read me, please!
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. He’s been on my list for a long time and so far has not disappointed!
Why did you apply for an internship with Atticus Books?
When I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my summer I knew it had to be something to do with writing or literature. I started looking into different literary magazines and found Atticus Review. I loved the aesthetic and voice and thought it would be an awesome litmag to be published in. I didn’t even know Atticus Books was offering summer internships; I just emailed with high hopes and got the job!