Private: Charles Portis: the writers’ writer who doesn’t much like writers

From time to time I wonder why I haven’t yet gotten my act together and picked up a Charles Portis novel. Today is one of those times.

Portis is thought to have influenced Larry Brown and has been compared to Mark Twain. Also, he writes about Arkansas. What more could you want, really?

Alex Beam praises Portis’s work in The Boston Globe. He reveals that the author is working on a new book and portrays him as a retiring, sensible guy:

There is one more relevant detail about Portis: He is quite reclusive, not in the diagnosable manner of J. D. Salinger, but shy enough. “If you are going to an event, he won’t let you pick him up,” says his fellow Arkansan Bill Whitworth, the former editor of The Atlantic magazine. “He needs to feel that he can escape whenever he needs to.”

Here’s a Portis short story from the May, 1996 issue of The Atlantic.