Friday, June 26, 2009

Lisa See

Lisa See's most recent book is Shanghai Girls.

From her Q & A at Powell's:

Aside from other writers, name some artists from whom you draw inspiration and talk a little about their work.

Bob Dylan. It's a funny thing, but I didn't love him all that much when I was younger. My mom had his early albums, and I was aware of his songs and all that, but I wasn't particularly passionate about him in the same way I was for, say, the Stones. When his voice went, I didn't care for him at all. Then, when I was on book tour in the Bay Area for one of the mysteries, I had a media escort who played Time Out of Mind over and over again as we drove together day after day. The escort was a huge Dylan fan. She'd been to lots of concerts over the years, so she talked to me about his work, even from the "off" years, and about the songs we were listening to. Maybe it's because I heard that CD so many times — literally over and over again for five days — that something just clicked. I finally heard what I needed to hear. (Or maybe I was brainwashed.) Over these past few years, I've become fascinated by the way Dylan can tell a whole story in just a few minutes, how he plays with words, and how things don't necessarily have to follow a linear progression. I even got XM radio in my car so I can listen to The Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Hour. I have to drop everything and go for a drive so I can listen to it. He'll take a single word or concept — rain, Cadillacs, or presidents — and play archival pieces related to that particular theme. The music is interesting and often it's stuff I've never heard before, but what I love most are Dylan's musings on the theme. He has one weird mind.[read on]
Also check out See's interview with Kate Merkel-Hess at The China Beat.

The Page 99 Test: Lisa See's Peony in Love.

--Marshal Zeringue