Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 6 December 2020

Florence Noiville's Literary Miniatures are small but perfectly formed

The French interviewer Noiville introduces readers to many of the finest writers of our time in Literary Miniatures.
Literary Miniatures by Florence Noiville.
Literary Miniatures by Florence Noiville.

Literary Miniatures

Florence Noiville

Seagull Books


Florence Noiville is a former financial analyst who packed in her career to “access the inner sanctum” of the literary world by interviewing the world’s greatest writers. She introduces readers to esteemed figures such as Saul Bellow, Don DeLillo, Mario Vargas Llosa and John le Carré in this collection of what she describes as “literary miniatures”, a narrative form that she says captures the essence of the subject far better than a traditional Q&A.

The book’s 28 translated pieces, which originally appeared in the French newspaper Le Monde, are not verbatim, transcribed interviews but rather “inspired renderings” of the intimate conversations Noiville had with her subjects.

They contain surprisingly few direct quotes and are fleshed out with Noiville’s personal perceptions of the subject and their work, an approach that arguably provides deeper insights than a traditional interview.

The fact that writers who normally spurn interview requests so readily open up to her is a testament to her ability to paint an accurate portrait of her subject.

Literary Miniatures is a thoroughly worthwhile read for anyone wishing to become more intimately familiar with some of the finest writers of the past century.


Updated: August 22, 2013 04:00 AM