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The three women in question -- Isabelle Eberhardt, Ella Maillart, and Annemarie Schwarzenbach, each born in Switzerland, each finding their inspiration in other lands, each writing in the first half of the twentieth century -- served both as counterexamples to Greene's claim and as proof that for the country's thinking daughters, nothing mattered more than leaving. The three pioneering travelers visited lands that would shine on the most daring adventurer's passport, clashed with governments and political crises, and diverged from convention at just about every turn.
Summer of Hate offers a rare reminder -- or rare in the context of the novel -- that everything has its cost. Kraus has argued that narrative functions as a capitalist form, so it follows that for Kraus a rejection of conventional narrative techniques figures as a refusal to follow the rules of capitalism. In accounting for capitalist effects, Summer of Hate is a novel that emphasizes how capitalism substantively determines the narrative of all characters. We learn that a "dumpy Victorville twelve-plex" bought for $30K during the height of the '03 SoCal real estate boom is in March 2005 -- when Summer of Hate begins -- worth almost $2 million. Over the course of the book the numbers carry over, as interest compounds, that one can hardly ignore how taxes add up. It's a bookkeeping mystery that, by the end of Kraus's novel, we understand in terms of a narrative one as well.
"Honesty in fiction is the effective creation of empathy. Very rarely does anyone pull it off, but that's the goal. And I should mention that I use the word "empathy" in a strict sense -- that of recognizing one's own experience in another. Compassion should follow from that, but I'm not necessarily looking to inspire compassion directly, which is part of the reason I want to gouge my eyes out with a soup spoon when I see or hear people complaining that they don't "like" the characters in a book (whether mine or another's), as if my primary job as a novelist is to provide someone a gaggle of imaginary friends. That's not the point. I don't care so much about readers feeling affection or sympathy for my characters, but I do hope that they will understand them in some fundamental way."
Bunting loved Iran -- its landscapes and people as well as its literature. He managed to get along with both the Tehran jet set and ibex-hunting mountain nomads, and he eventually married an Iranian woman. He called Iran “one of the most civilized countries in the world” and “one of the pleasantest to be in.” His Persian idyll would come to an end in 1951, when Mohammad Mosaddeq expelled all foreign journalists from the country. He never returned.
"With José Antonio Ramos Sucre I was lucky because the rights were in public domain. It was shocking to me to realize a translation into English had never been undertaken. There had been translations in Portuguese and French, but not English. For me, for the process, it was important to go to Cumana, see his grave, take walks in downtown Caracas. Go to the National Library and see the first editions of the books that he himself published. I was going back and forth to Venezuela alot then, but I didn't have a contract for this book, so I was just working on this among other projects. Things kept falling into place."
"As I see it, games take metaphors about dreams and storytelling, metaphors traditionally found in fantasy, and turn them into things that can actually happen to you and me. You can actually have a game like the tales of Scheherezade, which spins off recursively into sub-games. People do get lost in game-space, addicted, and never come out. And there's something new, something not generally found in those old metaphors: the story itself is a thing that wants something from you. Probably your credit card number."
"I got more serious, started going to writers' groups. The one that was most effective in channeling and exposing me to other writers, was called -- I find it so comical to even say the name! -- The People of Color, Third World, Gay and Lesbian Writing Group. You had to be two out of three to be allowed to belong. I was all three. There were seven black lesbians, one other gay woman who grew up in Malaysia but was of Indian origin, one Chinese gay man, and then me. The group was very political, which was great. But the reason it eventually split up was because a woman who was bisexual wanted to join. The group couldn't decide whether or not to take her, so instead they decided to disband. I can laugh now, but it wasn't funny back then. Everyone was shouting and screaming."
"Writers don't tell stories in a vacuum, however much we might wish to pretend otherwise. So what already-told stories are your stories re-inscribing, which ones are they countering? Since long before 9/11, US culture has been saturated with stories about Arabs and Muslims as villains, as fanatics, as worthless, as better dead than alive. 'Throne' very consciously aims to re-center the traditional western fantasy map, and to interrogate attendant cultural assumptions in the process. But, again, via monsters and magic rather than polemic."