Your first novels seem to be primarily character studies and the later books are more concerned with themes.


I think you’re right. You look at people and realize they’re all part of some theme whether they like it or not. And all you have to do is perceive the theme and you can fit all kinds of people into the pattern. I used to not be able to see so much at once. I think I had a very narrow vision. I had a very narrow life and so I began with character and with one particular situation: like having an illegitimate baby or having to go where your husband’s job is. Now that seems to me very restricting. Too particular. On the other hand, if you lose a sense of particularity, then your writing becomes very boring. It’s a struggle to keep the balance between the two now.”

From: Margaret Drabble, The Art of Fiction No. 70

“What’s the connection between criticism and curation?

They’re both about presenting a vision of the world. But something I didn’t realize until I participated in curation is that it’s actually way more idiosyncratic. When we curated the show at MOCA, I kept approaching it like a writer, thinking we gotta mention this and this. But Herb and Andrew, the curators at MOCA, were just like, “No, this is us. This is what we are doing. We don’t have to put it all in there. If we put it all in there it would be overwhelming and impossible for someone to walk through. Just pick what you want in the show, and that will be the show.” That was mind-blowing to me. Because as a writer, you’re always anticipating what someone might say you left out.”

From: Critic Hua Hsu Is An Enthusiast Of The Margin