Jeff Glor talks to Alan Lightman about, "Mr g."
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Alan Lightman: First of all, I have for a long time loved fabulist, imaginative fiction, such as the writing of Italo Calvino, Jose Saramago, Michael Bulgakov, and Salman Rushdie. I also like the magic realist writers, such as Borges and Marquez, and feel that interesting truths can be learned about our world by exploring highly distorted worlds. So, that is for form. As for content, with a background in science I am extremely interested in the meeting ground of science, theology, and philosophy, especially the ethical questions at the border of science and theology. All of these impulses served as inspiration for my new novel.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
AL: In my novel "Mr g," God is the narrator and tells the story in the first person. After living with the voice of God for the year that I worked on the book, with the power to create time and space, matter and energy, animate matter and consciousness, now and then I had tiny flashes of what it feels like to be all powerful.
I had not expected this feeling, but I always try to inhabit the minds and bodies of the characters I create, and in this case I was attempting to imagine what it would be like to be God -- in a literary sense of course.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
AL: If I were not a writer, I would spend more time doing the things that I am already doing, which include doing research in physics, teaching, and running a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower women in Cambodia.
JG: What else are you reading right now?
AL: Most recently, I read Anita Desai's wonderful new collection of
stories: "The Artist of Disappearance."
I also recently read Jim Gleick's excellent book, "The Information."
JG: What's next for you?
AL: I am now working on a collection of essays about various aspects of the universe: the accidental existence of our universe, the temporary nature of our universe, the kind of religious belief consistent with science, and the disembodied nature of our technology-driven world.
For more on "Mr g" visit the Random House website.