You’re very much a Brooklyn writer, starting in Brooklyn Heights and now Park Slope, and were part of the literary rebirth. And you’re one of the writers who talks about the mythology surrounding the current scene.
I was born in Manhattan so I wasn’t that far I think the bloggers are partly responsible but, interestingly, the European media is completely besotted with this idea that Brooklyn is the red-hot center of American literature. And every time I talk to European publications and so forth, they always ask, “Is there a bar where you walk in and Lethem is holding down one corner and Paul Auster is at another?” They don’t get the idea that what began as a kind of real estate exile is now us all living here and maybe talking to one another — It’s bizarre to me. As you know, geographically Brooklyn is gigantic on its own. It is huge in America, even without the other boroughs.
It isn’t like there’s a Left Bank along Gowanus.
[laughs] Left Bank along Gowanus, exactly. And it’s not like the cafes along Seventh Avenue are all dotted with writers, you know? It’s nice in the way that one has friends nearby, that’s great, but would it be different if we were all living in, say, Chicago or Kansas City? It doesn’t make it special, by virtue of the fact that high real estate in Manhattan drove a lot of us to Brooklyn.