“Being alone with our thoughts and feelings is an act of self-possession. In the book, I definitely was exploring the idea that women can find strength in silence, particularly as a refusal to engage with what doesn’t serve them.”
“I think in part because this is my first novel, I struggled a bit with the problem of suspension of disbelief. I had this feeling that I needed somehow to justify the piece. It is an improbable story—as many novels are!—and I think I was afraid readers wouldn’t ‘believe’ it. So I think I compensated for that by playing around with various metafictional elements.”
“I think that most realism tries to show us something astonishing in the familiar and mundane. The fantastic, on the other hand, tries to show us something familiar and mundane in the astonishing.”
Compression can be a radical point of view, a necessity of wandering and solitude. On the other hand, it risks reaching no one. Xie maneuvers her language with a fine-tooth comb, often beginning where many poets in our cluttered, digital age, conclude: deep inside a fully-fleshed thought or image.
“Writing is, in many ways, an act of faith. You have to believe in yourself. You have to work towards a goal that may, at first, seem inaccessible and far-fetched.”