Sheila Heti’s new novel, How Should a Person Be?, is dedicated to Margaux Williamson, a main character who is the best friend of the book’s protagonist—Sheila—and, not exactly by coincidence, is Ms. Heti’s best friend in real life as well. Last night, at a launch party for the book at powerhouse Arena, the real Ms. Heti spoke into a microphone as the real Ms. Williamson sat in the front row.
“When I showed Margaux the first draft of this book,” she said, “I thought she was going to say, like, ‘This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.’”
How Should a Person Be has the subtitle “a novel from life,” and it consists, in part, of a compilation of fictionalized emails and interview transcripts. Ms. Heti recounted the experience of showing Ms. Williamson her manuscript in real life, a process that is also documented in the novel. “It’s interesting to have characters that tell you that you did the wrong thing,” Ms. Heti said. Read More