S. TREMAINE NELSON interviews ROBERT EARLE
SN: Your short story “Doleo Ergo Sum,” which appears in Issue 4 of The Common, features several characters from The Brothers Karamazov. When did you first read Dostoevsky?
RE: I first read Dostoevsky when I was seventeen. Crime and Punishment was on my high school’s summer reading list. I’ve been reading him ever since. He was an extraordinarily complex literary genius, a man of great flaws, great faith, and great energy. When you go into his world, you’re there from the first page to the last.
SN: Would you consider your story historical fiction or an homage to Dostoevsky? Or perhaps literary fan-fiction?
RE: I think of everything I write as literary fiction, whether it has roots in historical events or literary phenomena. I use history extensively but don’t feel excessively tied down to it. For me, literature possesses its own reality, and that’s what literary-minded writers seek to explore. We don’t write “about” things; we use words and stories to create unique experiences for readers of our work.