It’s not like I meet someone and I sit them down for the interview. We talk about life. It’s a conversation, and it’s a long conversation. Only a little part of it goes into the book. For example, the subject of war. I talked to this woman who went to war, she was very naïve. She went to war with a suitcase full of sweets. But we not only talk about that, we talk about her marriage, about her children. I think it’s important to understand a person from every angle, to describe everything about that person.
The Russian poet, (Joseph) Brodsky, said, “How do you know the difference between good literature and bad literature?” And he said, “The secret is metaphysics. If you just collect information, it’s journalism, but if you describe the person, if you find out the inner side of a person, that’s literature.” Exactly. I don’t want to just know the superficial information. I want to know that person in general. What do they think about love? What do they think about death? I want to put it all together.