Philip Roth on Reader Versus Book (2007)

“I don’t think about the reader; I think about the book. I think about the sentence. I think about the paragraph. I think about the page. I go over it, and over it, and over it. The book begins to make its demands. The demands are intellectual, they’re imaginative, and they’re aesthetic … I’m a very bad judge of how people will respond to my work; how the general reader will respond to a book. And I’m always surprised by the responses that a book elicits. I don’t think I’m the only writer who experiences this. There’s a kind of dummy who lives [inside] here, y’know? And you don’t know what you’ve done.”