That's Auster in the chair, reading, and Lethem with the glasses, facing him.

Jonathan Lethem's interview with Paul Auster, in the February 2005 Believer.

"This might come as a surprise to you, but I tend to think of myself as a highly emotional writer... what I’m constantly striving for in my prose is clarity. So that, ideally, the writing will become so transparent that the reader will forget that the medium of communication is language. So that the reader is simply inside the voice, inside the story, inside what is happening. So, yes, there is a certain—I wouldn’t call it reserve, but precision maybe, I don’t know. At the same time, I’m trying to explore the deepest emotional questions I know about: love and death. Human suffering. Human joy. All the important things that make life worth living."

Sort of sums it up for me: this is why I like Auster so much, and why, even though I don't really write like the man, I learned so much from taking City of Glass apart and putting it back together again. Clarity. Beautiful clarity. That's the struggle-- not to muddle, not to complicate, but to make absolutely clear, to render transparent what is/will be muddled by the medium, naturally.

The last section of the interview, where Auster talks about "exphrasis," is pretty damn smart (even if the word is more commonly spelled "ekphrasis"). But unravel the thread a little bit more, if you have the time, and read Lethem's essay, "The Ecstasy of Influence" from Harper's February 2007 issue. It is pretty damn smart, too, and tremendously amusing, and more than a little inspiring (for me).

And here, I've never read anything else of Lethem's. I'll have to rectify that.