Sheila Heti – How Should A Person Be? A Novel From Life

I’ve been reading several interviews with Sheila Heti today, about her new book: How Should A Person Be?: A Novel From Life. Can’t wait to read this one. She has a lot of really interesting things to say about representing reality, and the relationship of fiction to reality. These are topics I’ve been thinking a lot about as I’ve been working on a project of my own, so I found the interviews particularly engaging. Here are the excerpts that I’ve copied onto index cards and will be pinning to my bulletin board:

“Every generation wants to — is trying to represent reality. All artists are trying to represent reality, us no more than at any other time. It’s just like, what tools do you use? And you do sort of open up the idea of the novel. Why are you writing the novel this way?…” (Sheila Heti in “Reality Fiction” by Emily Keeler in The New Inquiry, May 28, 2012,

“…even if I did try 100 percent to depict them as they are, still a person’s such a different thing from words in a book. You can’t really ever think that’s a person.” (Sheila Heti in “Reality Fiction” by Emily Keeler in The New Inquiry, May 28, 2012,


Links to all the interviews I read today:

By Emily Keeler on The New Inquiry:

By Claire Cameron on The Millions:
Cameron digs into the details of Heti’s revision of the book for the American release. I’m always interested in differences between Canadian and American things. I’d be curious to read both versions.

By Brian Joseph Davis on The Joyland Blog:


I have a copy of Heti’s The Middle Stories, which I now feel compelled to revisit until I can get my hands on a copy of How Should A Person Be? (Thank goodness it’s one of the books that made the cut and lives with me now in San Diego).

As a post-script, I see here on Jezebel ( that there’s way more media attention out there about the book than I realized…so I will end this post now to pursue further reading.

Happy being.

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