Saturday, July 15, 2006

A leopard on the other side of a bit of canvas

Deborah Solomon interviews Jane Goodall in the NYT Magazine:

Are you ever afraid of anything?

I was alone in a tent for years. Sometimes of course you get afraid. You don't hear a leopard on the other side of a bit of canvas and not have your heart stop. Especially if I was out in the hills. I used to sleep quite often out on the mountain, with a blanket.

It was my childhood aspiration to grow up and be like Jane Goodall: in fact when I was seven or eight and upset about something I would go into my room and angrily read In the Shadow of Man until I became calm! I see from the interview that Dale Peterson has a biography of Goodall coming out this fall, how exciting; I heartily recommend Goodall's autobiography in letters as well (here is volume one and here is volume two).


  1. Do you have any theories as to why Deborah Solomon always asks such asinine questions? Or am I being too harsh?

  2. I was talking about this recently with a friend who deals professionally with Q&A/interview-type stuff though not with Solomon, & she said she thought they must be very drastically edited down to produce that effect, and that if you could hear the whole conversation it would be more sensible. (I think the passage that prompted the conversation was the one where Solomon's basically asking Carlos Fuentes "So, how do you feel now that both your children are dead?" I simply cannot believe she asks such questions, there must be something in her manner that negates or at least defuses the charge of the scattershot hostility that comes across in the printed versions.)