goose new coverKelly Hui, twenty-four-year-old daughter of Papa Hui (founder of Bashful Goose Snack Company and China’s richest man), strode through the Jiangsu government building’s entrance, gave her name to the teenage security guard, and plopped herself down on a rickety chair. The meeting she was waiting for, certain to be a snore-fest, was tragically the most exciting work-related thing she’d done since her father had made her the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility—a department in which she was the sole employee—two years before. To be fair, this was also the first work-related thing she’d done in that time.

She rummaged through her Hermes bag, found her iPod, stuck her earbuds in her ears, and put on a Radiohead song. She tapped her foot in rhythm on the floor. She listened to another song, and then another, and then another. Swatted at a fly that buzzed around her head. Glanced down at the time—ten past—and sighed loudly. The guard, a scrawny kid who couldn’t have been more than seventeen and who, Kelly thought, probably spent most of his day secretly masturbating under his little podium, looked up. That’s right, she thought, flipping her hair over her shoulder, store this one away for later.

Carly Hallman1Let’s get down to it. What made you decide to publish your first novel, Year of the Goose, at age 28? Why not 30? Everyone knows that no one knows anything until at least age 30. On the other hand, why not 13? You could’ve been a child prodigy. You could’ve appeared on 60 Minutes.

What can I say? Mistakes were made.

 

Speaking of mistakes, it’s a well-known fact that many individuals nurse hobbies and interests such as playing tennis, folding origami, and crafting old-fashioned toys such as whirligigs, pinwheels, and kites. Why not pursue one such hobby or interest? In other words, why spend years of your life bumbling along in Beijing and writing a very weird book about ridiculously wealthy Chinese folks?

I don’t like to talk about it, but there was once an unfortunate incident involving a pottery wheel and a stubborn would-be vase that absolutely refused to take shape. Suffice it to say, I tried hobbies. Hobbies didn’t work.