This Writer's Life

Irony & Faith in the Work of Tobias Wolff

"I can’t live without it." Tobias Wolff was talking to me about irony. He paused, his eyes scanning the book-lined walls of his Stanford University office, and repeated: "I can’t live without it. But I do think it has its temptations, and one of them of course is to make flippant what is not to be taken flippantly."

Like any morally serious person, Wolff knows that irony has its risks: "Irony [can be] a way of not talking about...

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Paul J. Contino