images (1)She thinks I approached her out of the blue. She thinks I wanted to interview her out of the kindness of my heart. The truth is this: ulterior motives.  I must confess that I’m interested in the convergence of several elements in her work (emphasis on several): exotic locale (China, in this case), the thematic rubbing up against each other of missionary zeal (whether secular missionary zeal as found in Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder or sacred missionary zeal which you’ll find in Virginia’s book) with contemporary mores, and the fact that both Virginia and I showed up a little later than usual on the publishing field, despite our lengthy, lengthy, lengthy histories in writing without an audience. And Virginia and I have the same publisher (Unbridled Books). She sounded pretty interesting to me!

16073090A man tipped back his head and thrust a flaming stick into his open mouth. A blind charmer blew into his flute, and snakes stood upright like question marks. A giant swallowed a bucket of nails until his belly sagged under the groaning weight. Thick men clad in bright loincloths and boots circled, charged, and gripped oiled biceps, struggling to fell one another like massive, entwined oaks. Other sportsmen appeared to be flicking some sort of animal bone at a target with the goal of trying to knock yet more animal bones away while nearby an archery contest looked ready to commence. It all appeared good fun, this field day on the edge of a cliff. The Reverend felt he just might like to join in. But as he strode forward, the crowd parted and shuffled anxiously to keep out of his way.