Nicholson Baker never meant to write a sequel to “The Anthologist.” And yet, he explains by phone from his home in Maine, the narrator of that 2010 novel, a poet named Paul Chowder, kept demanding to be heard. “It was more a refusal,” Baker notes, voice dry as a whisper on the wire. “A refusal on Paul’s part to be overlooked. I was writing a different book, in my own voice, and I kept slipping into his voice. At a certain point, I just gave in.” What Baker’s getting at is the tendency of characters — or certain characters — to assert themselves, to emerge in a piece of writing whether we want them there or not. Paul is such a figure: idiosyncratic, unashamed of his quirks and ticks and odd obsessions, not unlike the author who created him.
more from David L. Ulin at the LA Times here.