When I was living in Cambodia from 2005 to 2009, the realization came to me that the story I wanted to tell was larger than me, than my own life. With Banyan, I wanted to pay homage to our humanity—that part of us that not only survives but triumphs. I saw this everywhere in Cambodia. I still see it every time I return. Despite living in the shadow of genocide, people there possess a lightness of spirit that’s absolutely inspiring.
by Terry Hong
I needed only a fraction of the 300 pages to realize that as wrenching and terrifying as the story is, Banyan would surely be one of the most heart-stoppingly gorgeous titles I would read in years. I wasn’t wrong.
by Rachel Leal
For me, the kabbalist’s courtyard and the goings on at the Temple Mount—they’re a literary gold mine. I had to capture these worlds, the holy parts, the ridiculous, the diversity, and layeredness, for want of a better term. I did fear someone else might get there first and only see the ridiculous parts.
“The knot in which the soul was bound is no trick knot, coming apart with a tug at its end. On the contrary, it grows tighter and tighter. We work at it, untying it, tracing the path of the string, seeking the end, and out of this manipulating comes art…”
by Nicki Leone
We all construct stories of ourselves; personal mythologies, if you will. Schulz’s great task was to find the wellspring of these tales, at least within himself.
“When I am writing about a particular murderer I really am entering into his mind: feeling his emotions, feeling his needs, feeling his violence, feeling his unhappiness. I think that, with all the characters, when I am writing about that character, I am that character and I believe that character for as long as I am writing that character.”
by Jill Kronstadt
The author unveils facts as the characters experience them . . . “The detective can know nothing which the reader isn’t also told . . . It would be a very, very bad detective story at the end if the reader felt, ‘Who could possibly have guessed that?’”