PW asks the question. Claire Messud answers: Q: I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.
A: For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to
be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with
Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscar Wao?
Antigone? Raskolnikov? Any of the characters in The Corrections? Any of
the characters in Infinite Jest? Any of the characters in anything
Pynchon has ever written? Or Martin Amis? Or Orhan Pamuk? Or Alice
Munro, for that matter? If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in
deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities. The
relevant question isn’t “is this a potential friend for me?” but “is
this character alive?” http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/interviews/article/56848-an-unseemly-emotion-pw-talks-with-claire-messud.html