“There’s no doubt that a writer’s background, one’s personal experiences as well as the collective experiences of one’s race and people and country resonate in the work. But ultimately I think it’s the writer’s own inner landscape that shapes and influences most.”
I wouldn’t have guessed that this book would be the breakthrough, that’s for sure. I thought Delicious Foods was the dark, ambitious, difficult, less compromised and strange second novel, a.k.a., the flop, the “cult favorite, ” if it gets that lucky.
by Sonya Chung
Depicting racial discrimination is just a way of starting a conversation about a power relationship or power food chain, really that is hardly exclusive to black Americans and white Americans… Almost everybody’s likely to be someone’s nigger.
Lorna and I were friends through our daughters playing on the same softball team, and I used to watch her work on her art in the bleachers while we were “watching” the games. Fascinated by a sculpture Lorna was working on one season, I wrote a poem called “Bound Feet” and sent it to her.
I am deeply aware that “truth” can be debated; all I can do as a writer is convey the truth that I’ve deduced from evidence. Each person coming to that evidence may find a different way of expressing inferences. A biography, after all, is the intersection of my own biography—my experiences, people I’ve known, my personality— with that of my subject.
The last thing I want to be in my writing is didactic and preachy, but I do want to remind my readers that, in a way, all of life is a domino effect, that people suffer a lot and for a lot of different reasons, and that we all probably need to work on our empathy skills and on paying attention a bit more.
“I first saw Apocalypse Now when I was not yet a teenager, and it was way too soon to see it. My voice would shake when I talked about it later, even in college. So I wanted to take my revenge on that movie and all of the Hollywood canon about the war, for as I say in the novel, this is the first case in history where the losers get to write the history.”