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"Then there is the creative class itself. In my critique of Richard Florida, as seen in the creation of Tech City (Silicon Roundabout) in London and the failure of homegrown innovation in Bangalore, I wanted to show that top-down initiatives haven't worked despite the marketing spent. Cities generate creativity, as I show when looking at Silicon Round being home to a number of amazing enterprises -- but top-down management often has the opposite effect by making it harder for homegrown talent to blossom in these places. Running our cities according to the principle of the "creative class" is a very dangerous idea. Instead, one needs to think about the grain of a place, and to develop creativity from the ground up."
"Violent transgressions are so much more common in literature than sexual transgressions -- I think this also goes back to acceptability. At its heart, America is still a largely puritanical nation. Superhero movies geared toward children can contain an incredible amount of violence and even killing, and be blockbusters not in spite of it but because of it. The most morally conservative legislators -- the ones championing abstinence-only sex education programs -- are often also the most pro-war. To me, that hypocrisy is directly linked to misogyny. The suppression of sexuality and the suppression of women's rights have always gone hand in hand. The glorification of violence and the suppression of women's rights have also always gone hand in hand."
"A lot of what I write now is a lot darker and more oppressive than what I was writing in London. The countryside can be dark and violent in its own way. I keep discovering little hamlets that are miles from anywhere. There are families who have lived there for generations and their lives haven't really changed in that time. The darkness in the countryside inspires me. I have been reading a lot of writers who write about rural life in the Deep South of America. It is difficult for English writers to write in a similar style because America is so vast, but I want to write stories set in the backwoods of England where time hasn't changed things that much."
"I agree that there are no hard and fast rules in translating. It's something that often seems to come as a surprise to readers and even to editors. Not only would two different translators necessarily produce wildly different things, but the same translator at different times might make different choices. There are so many possible variables in a single sentence, let alone a whole novel, that it is impossible to make rules. I sometimes paraphrase Valéry 'a translation is never finished, only abandoned.'"
"It's always hard to try to be truthful and nuanced and deal with negatives in one's own culture, which of course one loves. But I hope that I've also shown the positive sides -- the deep family loyalty that drives people and for which they are willing to sacrifice, a reverence for the divine, a willingness (as in Pia and Asif, or Asif and Bahadur) to reach across the chasms of class and religion in friendship. I hope people will laugh, too, at moments when the folly or social ambitions of certain characters are exposed. I've been very pleased that the Indian reviews (the novel came out there recently and was on the national bestsellers list) have been extremely positive and have stated that the novel has successfully captured the complexities of current Indian society."
"Nobody remembers the names of victims of serial killers. What if there's a book that tried? Toward the end, I don't do a lot of summing up. I say explicitly, they weren't angels. They weren't devils and blaming them is wrong and blaming their families is wrong. Blaming the Internet is wrong. There are no easy good guys and bad guys here. The issue of blame is a trap. It keeps us from understanding in a way that dehumanizes them. If you say, 'Oh it's okay that they got killed because they are prostitutes,' it dehumanizes them. If you say, 'Oh they became prostitutes because they had a horrible childhood,' that dehumanizes them."
"All I could hope for is to somehow hold it together, my own mind and the poem, to illuminate how a mind struggles when it encounters bald-faced immorality. That's all I can manage -- to illuminate it. Attempting to solve the 'problem' would be a cop-out, and less than useless. What is needed is to feel the anguish of the situation. To be aware of the feeling. Then one might act, and act out of the feeling rather than some sense of having the 'right' answer."
"Most of my relatives were supportive of Cold River Spirits, especially those of my mother's generation. A few cousins were upset with the portrayals and claimed the publisher had forced me to embellish the grittier parts. That never happened. Epicenter Press did not pressure me. In fact, l left out some seamier descriptions, which I felt did nothing for the narrative and would have bogged down the story. I didn't want to whitewash the Native people or my relatives. Romanticizing indigenous people doesn't help descendants and other cultures understand what they endured."