How Fiction Can Survive in a Distracted World

There’s too much out there to be dealing with: music, amazing films, good stuff of every variety. So you’ve got to get them fucking quick. That really changes the way you’ve got to approach writing as a novelist. It’s more like a short story now, in some ways. You have to get the reader on the first page of a short story, you have to convince them of a world inside page one. As writers try to capture the scattered attention of readers, I think the novel is moving towards that degree of compression.

But one thing can still arrest us, slow us down, and stop us in our tracks: the human voice. I think this explains the explosion in podcasts and radio narratives. The human voice still holds our attention, allowing us to tune in to a narrative in a way we find increasingly difficult on the page.
— Kevin Barry, interviewed by Joe Fassler