My mother tells me that if I want the novel I’m writing to be a bestseller in America, I should put in a couple of ghosts. Americans love ghosts, especially Chinese ghosts. I stammer back that I’m not selling out, and that I will never write about ghosts, Chinese or otherwise. “Remember the fortune cookies you used to get all the time?” she says. “They said, ‘Listen to your mother.’” “I only got that fortune three times,” I reply. “Three times in one year,” she says, wrapping up the conversation.