1. What's up with Phoebe? (An American girl of Korean descent for whom the whole situation is overwhelming, though she's really smart.)
Phoebe is an American of Korean descent, and for any American—Korean or no—the complicated idea of the Korean-Japanese community is in many ways quite puzzling.
2. Did you ever think a character had to die, but find it too sad and save them?
Nope. I love all of my characters, but some have to die. Yes, I am very heartbroken, too.
Questions for Elif Batuman, in which she describes her image of Hoboken in her youth as "a glamorous but dangerous, somehow hollow, hubcap-like entity."
1. It feels like you must have kept a journal in college. Did you? Do you keep one now?
1. What is your favorite Fred Astaire routine? Mine is I'd Rather Lead a Band from Follow the Fleet — although it's impossible to choose. If you'd rather, answer this: do you prefer the elegant top-hatted Astaire or the rolled-up sleeves, hard working hoofer?
I fell for the top-hatted Fred but grew to appreciate more the rolled-up sleeved Fred. But Dancing in the Dark with Cyd Charisse is one of my favs.
1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?
Kate's play Everyone's Fine With Virginia Woolf will be read by the Elevator Repair Service Theater Company in the shop on April 26th!
1. What inspired you to riff on Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
1.What are your favorite books from childhood/teen/adult years?
1. What did you learn in graduate school that you didn't know already?
I learned about the world of writing – which is incredibly hard to access without help. I mean that I learned that there are fellowships and residencies and conferences, readings going on all over the city on any given night. There was this supportive community but I don’t know how I would have connected to it without school.
2. How do you approach reading poetry?
1. The meaning of "home" in a general sense is important in these essays — what drew you to that topic?
I was interested in exploring the various ways that growing up in Florida has shaped the person I've become, and through writing about my home state, and my family home, became interested in attempting to define what it means to have a home in the first place (or not).
2. Florida is a big state a lot of people are from, but you don't often see it given this type of literary treatment — why do you think that is?
Little City Five: Ian Rankin
1. You've compared your Detective Rebus to maverick American PIs — who is your favorite American PI in a book? On t.v.?
My favourite PI in books would be Matt Scudder. Lawrence Block was one of the first US crime writers I read and I loved the Scudder series from first word to last. On TV, I'd maybe say Jim Rockford. Laconic, decent, played to perfection.
Helen Ellis is coming to read on November 17th. The day after the election, we had a few questions for her:
1. Sorry, it's the morning after, I have to. Can you, as a Southerner and a New Yorker, say anything about the election that will make me feel better?
Alas I cannot.
2. I mean, why?
There's truth in fiction: our country is now a reality game show.