This is a book review done backwards. Most people read the book first, then if they’re lucky, they get to meet or even interview the author. I had the fortune of meeting Richard Ford before reading any of his work. I just finished one of his early works, The Sportswriter, which was published to great acclaim in 1986 (which is also the year my novel begins and one reason why I picked up this book).
Do you believe in fortune tellers? I’m feeling a little low after a flurry of rejections, so I’m just going to talk to myself here.
Once upon a time, around the time I was born, my mom saw a fortune teller in Hong Kong.
I really should be trying to journal more often, but life just has a way of knocking you off your feet sometimes. In some way…
tonight they come to die mad, mad October you make me lose my mind rioting leaves run, running red ginkgoes, under our feet pureed everywhere…
What is this strange thing that happens with age? In my teens I could just pop a few things in a backpack and walk out of the house to explore the world. Which I did, at eighteen and again at nineteen, backpacking around China. The latter trip was with two older boys, a schoolmate and his friend, and we spent three months traveling from Hong Kong to Guilin, taking the long overnight train past Guizhou to Yunnan, where we spent nearly a month, on to Sichuan, and after which we parted on different routes. Many years later I met that schoolmate again, and oddly enough, we had both moved on to work in private equity. He mentioned a trip he had taken a few years ago to remote Mongolia, staying in very basic accommodations, and moving the very next morning to a luxury hotel because he was too uncomfortable.
“Cannot already lah,” he said. “I need my material comforts.”
The first hint of dawn filters through the green gold crepe curtains, in the distance a rooster crows. Anticipation and anxiety wakes me at six in the morning even though I would like to sleep in; it is my first day as Writer in Residence at the Toji Cultural Centre in Wonju, South Korea.