TSR: What does the word "story"
mean to you?
narrative that entertains the reader and at the same time provides food
TSR: Do you
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
do. I constantly worry about boring the reader. I think this psychology
helps me developing a more captivating plot and pace. Sometimes I also
worry about a reader, especially a reviewer, not understanding the
story or getting it wrong, but I usually resolve to trust my reader. I
guess those are pretty general concerns involving a pretty broad
audience. Needless to say, there isn't a clear image or concept of what
a particular reader is like.
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your
anything at all?
XE: Did you like it?
What was your favorite story and why? Did you learn anything? Has your
view of China/Chinese changed a bit? Are you recommending it to a
friend? Any comments? I am full of questions and love to hear from
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
It's comforting to know my book has "real" readers. I just heard this
from a writer friend yesterday: the weekend after she bought my book,
her mom (who I don't know) came for a visit and started reading my
collection. She got so into it that she took it home with her on the
plane and finished it the next day. Then she said to her daughter, "It
is fascinating. The writing is beguiling." Nothing is more gratifying
than hearing an anecdote like this.
you working on now?
XE: A memoir set in
1930s-1980s China, which interweaves stories and anecdotes and
worldviews, often in peculiar contrast, among three generations of my
Chinese family. I am also working on a novel set during a mystifying,
exhilarating, and ultimately tragic time of my home city,
TSR: What are
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
Knife Thrower by Steven Millhauser
The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D'Ambrosio
Things Kept, Things Left Behind by Jim Tomlinson
(And I constantly read short stories in magazines and anthologies)