The 2014 Nobel Laureate, whose new book is ''Scene of the Crime,'' says good books make good people. ''A book that profoundly moves or thrills you makes you a more sensitive person, and therefore a better one.''

.- What books are on your night stand?

There are piles of books that I read often, the classics. But please forgive me - I am in the midst of writing a book and I can only give you brief responses.

.- Which 20th-century writers - novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets - do you admire most?

Since I was 16, I've admired Ernest Hemingway, Carson McCullers, Cesare Pavese, Malcolm Lowry and a port W.B.Yeats. Also, ''The Magic Mountain,'' by Thomas Mann.

.- What books would you recommend to learn more about France?

About France, I don't know. But about Paris, I would recommend an American book : '' A Moveable Feast,'' by Ernest Hemingway.

.- And what contemporary French writer deserves a wider audience?

Ramuz, a French-speaking Swiss writer, who is probably the greatest 20th - century writer of French prose and style. Andre Dhotel, the author of over 30 novels in the genre of what could be called magical realism. Gaston Bachelard is also a master of poetic prose.

.- What moves you most in a work of literature?

The style. The music. What moves me most in a book is to hear the same voice speaking to me from the beginning to the end of it.

.- Do you prefer books that reach you emotionally, or intellectually?

The ones that reach me emotionally.

.- What book people might be surprised to find on your shelves?

Loads of phone books of all types : from Paris from 1835 through the 1970s, from London and Berlin, commercial phone books from the '30s, from cities in Europe, from America, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Pacific Islands, social registers, directories of movies theaters, playhouses, dance and music halls, etc., in which appear the addresses of thousands of vanished people.

.- What's the best book you've ever received as a gift?

For many years, my wife has given me a copy of the book ''Manon Mescaut,'' by Abbe Prevost, for my birthday, each time in a different edition.

.- Do books serve a moral function, in your view? How so?

A book that profoundly moves or thrills you makes you a more sensitive person, and therefore a better one. That is its moral function.

.- You're organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

I don't know if one could organize a literary ''party'' inviting 20 writers as one would organize a meeting of club members. I'm afraid these writers, unless they're already friends, wouldn't have much to say to one another.

James Joyce and Marcel Proust met once when they were invited to a party in Paris. This was reportedly thir only exchange:

''It's raining.''

''Do you have an umbrella?''


''Me neither.''

- Translated from the French by Pauline Cochran.

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times


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